Categories
Where's My Little Boy

Where’s My Little Boy? Pt 7

Now that the boy has been found, it’s time for this little story to end…

“Oh, chale, so two of the kiddies die?” Illiasu asked.

Azah nodded sadly. “Yeah oo. Ibi sad. I no know which kind spirit go enter the driver make he flip over the truck like that.”

“Chale, that thing ankasa, ibi wickedness of the highest degree. Sey you go kidnap kiddies then take them go some far place then force them to work. Ah! Why?” Johnson added passionately.

“I shock. Ibi greed, chale. All because of money, you dey break up happy families then sell poor vulnerable kiddies to some cruel masters. God go punish all those them dey do that thing. Abi He start sef?” Stringazy declared.

“Oh, He start kraaa. See how them barb Jozi. So them all go fall!” Johnson continued to voice out.

It was a Wednesday afternoon, and as usual, this little quartet was just hanging around, engaging in chit-chat. The news of Jozi’s accident, arrest and incoming prosecution had not taken long in spreading around town, and it took many by surprise. While some people chose to believe it was simply a case of ‘Ghanaians bringing down their own’ and speculated that he had been framed, many others were stunned and horrified that a successful young man like him would delve into such dastardly trades.

In making the announcement of his arrest, the police had chosen to keep the identity of the boys a secret, so as to prevent them from being victimized. Although they had not been formally informed about this, they deciphered that such was the reason why they had barely heard from the men in blue.

And as far as they were concerned, that was really not something to be bothered about. They were just happy to know they managed to help somebody out.

“But the way people shock give am eh, not easy. My old man insult am roff! He say he no dey understand the guy. How you get booming business wey you dey dabble in child trafficking. He just shock,” Illiasu said.

“Not just you ooo,” Azah added. “Those my two aunties at the end of this lane. Monday evening, come see condemnation! No be small thing!”

The boys laughed. They knew those aunties of Azah to be pretty quick in lambasting acts of the youth they considered reprehensible and unacceptable.

“So by now di33, he dey cells, right?”

“If them no bail am out by now, yeah. But chale, he mess up. The blastings he dey receive no be without merit. It was never necessary to do this,” Stringazy said.

“At all. Just do your normal thing. Ahaa, Stringazy, so Maa Adwoa say what?” Johnson asked.

Stringazy grinned. The mere mention of the name made his face light up. “Chale, her mind dey. Her mind dey kraaa. I know sey she go give me good answer soon…”

He was interrupted by the vibration in his pocket. His phone was ringing.

He took it out and saw an unfamiliar number, which Truecaller revealed to be the number of one ‘Sgt Jahara’.

His heartbeat increased upon seeing that. He had no recollection whatsoever of giving his number to the man. “Chale, Sergeant Jahara dey call ooo!” he hissed to the others, who grew silent as he answered. “Uh, h-hello, Sir?”

They might have been of immense help to the police, but that didn’t make the sergeant less intimidating to them.

“Ebenezer Dadzie! How are you doing?” the sergeant’s booming voice came through, sending chills down his spine.

“Fine, sir. Fine,” he stuttered.

“Good. I need you and your friends at my station as soon as possible. Be quick about it!”

“Y-y-y-yes, sir! Yes, sir! I-I-I’ll let them know. R-right away,” he answered obediently.

As he hung up, he looked at his squad. “Chale, the man say make we come the station.”

***

There was a knock on the door of the small office on the left side of the entrance to the police station.

“Come in!”

The door opened, and in stepped the quartet: Azah, Illiasu, Stringazy and Johnson.

Sergeant sat at a desk, and in front of him sat a man who looked like he was in his late 30s. Standing next to him was a little boy with his arm in a sling, looking excited despite having one good arm at that moment.

It didn’t take long for the boys to guess who that was.

It was little Benji and his father.

“Young men, meet little Benjamin Bart-Plange. The boy you helped save from the clutches of Jozi and Jerry James. One of them, at least. And this is Mr. Robert, his father. Sir, these are the youngsters who helped to find your son.”

Robert turned and smiled at the quartet, who looked delighted to meet him. One by one, they extended a hand to shake his as they formally introduced themselves.

“Reuben Johnson, sir.”

“Mohamed Illiasu.”

“Francis Azah.”

“Ebenezer Dadzie.”

“A pleasure to meet you all, boys,” Robert said, his face beaming with smiles. “Benji, these are the boys who helped the police to catch the bad guys that took you away. Say hello to them,” he ordered his son gently.

Benji responded by waving at the boys, a cute little smile while shyly saying hello. They responded with waves of their own.

“Well, obviously, there’s one reason why I’m here, and that’s to thank you guys so much for what you did. God knows how grateful I am to you all for the part you played in helping to find my boy. It was only a couple of days, but Lord have mercy, it felt like 50 years waiting and hoping for the best. Absolute torment. If it hadn’t been for you guys, my life would be in shambles, chale. I lost my wife a few years back, so losing him would have made me snap.”

The sergeant and the boys looked taken aback by the mention of his wife.

“Woow,” Azah gasped, shaking his head. “Then we really helped you out.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Johnson murmured in agreement. “Herh. The thought of it alone just gives me chills. Lose your wife, then son. Chale! I’d go mad myself.”

“Well, thanks be to God you guys were where you were,” Sergeant Jahara said. “It could have ended differently if it hadn’t been the case. And I guess it’s been a lesson for me, personally.”

Turning to Robert, he continued, “You know, to be very honest, these gentlemen in front of you are not exactly shining role models in this part of town. I’ve had some misgivings with them. Serious misgivings, in fact. So I pretty much wrote them off. But I guess this whole saga has taught me not to cast people aside like that. You don’t know who God can use to help others.”

“Oh, indeed,” Robert agreed, nodding his head. “We can’t tell who will be of immense help to us at the time we need it most.”

“Very true. Gentlemen!” Sergeant Jahara said, turning to the boys once more. “For obvious reasons, we can’t put your identities out there. This trafficking ring thing is more deadly, and the last thing we need is for you guys to be hunted and victimized. But officially, I want to say, congratulations for helping us to save this little man’s life. And the lives of the surviving two young ones. You boys did a fantastic job, and I must say, I’m proud of you all.”

The faces of the quartet beamed with delight. If you had told them they would receive high praise from a strict and stern-looking officer like P/W Sergeant Derek Jahara, they would have laughed hard at you and suggested you were overdosed on Tramadol. But here it was, right before them: a Sergeant Jahara giving them a pleased look and words of commendation.

They all saluted. “Thank you, Sir.”

“So Mr. Robert will take your numbers and you’ll get your reward later on. And hey, if any of you think you want to join us here to help take down more of the criminals in society, you can let me know. You never know. You might just have found your way to your calling,” he ended with a shrug.

They smiled among themselves. They may not have ever considered joining the police force, but maybe after taking down these bad guys, it was something they could begin to think about.

Azah in particular looked especially interested. “We’ll give it some thought and get back to you, sir. It’s certainly an offer I will personally love to take.”

And that’s a wrap, people!! Robert’s little boy returned safe and sound, bad guys will be dealt with, and the young boys will be rewarded. Satisfying conclusion! Now let’s get ready for season 2 of Meet The Dolphynes!!

Categories
Where's My Little Boy

Where’s My Little Boy? Pt 6

The final month of 2019 is upon us already! Chale, time goes so quickly, doesn’t it? Well, all glory be to God for taking us through the year. It’s not been easy, but He’s been good…

Little piece of info for y’all: 25th June is SOD’s birthday. My baby growing, ain’t she?

Well… something nasty happened at the end of part 5. Are the traffickers and victims OK? Let’s see…

It was 11:28 pm when Robert’s phone rang.

Still struggling to get a peaceful, uninterrupted bout of sleep, Robert was lying on the couch when his ringtone blared loud. He sprung up and immediately grabbed the phone, ready to answer and unload all the questions he had on his mind.

He hesitated a bit, though. As anxious as he was, he felt maybe he needed to take his time and let the man speak. Flooding his questions on the superintendent wouldn’t better or worsen what he had to say.

His right hand shivering, he pressed the green button and answered, “Hello?”

“Mr. Bart-Plange… I need you to come over to the station as soon as possible. Your son has been found…”

“OH MY GOD, YES!!” Robert screamed with delight, punching the air with his free fist. Relief coursed through his veins with that statement. Oh, the joy! The euphoric joy!

“So is he with you right now? Can I speak to him? Is he OK?”

The excitement had him going back on his earlier decisions as he unloaded excited enquiries on the superintendent.

“Calm down, Mr. Bart-Plange.”

The response from him brought back the unease in Robert’s insides. He went mute, wondering what was next.

“Your son was found in the possession of a notorious child trafficker. A team apprehended he and an accomplice at the Kpone Police Barrier, but things took a bit of an unpleasant turn…”

***

“Oh God, oh dear God, please don’t let my son die,” he whispered to himself as he sat in the backseat with Nana, as Superintendent Larbi drove to the hospital where all the inhabitants of the truck had been admitted.

The superintendent shook his head. “It’s incredible. Just when we managed to find ourselves a step ahead of him, this happens.”

“Sooo… any word yet since the team last contacted you, SP?” Nana asked, his arm around his friend who had his eyes shut in prayer, begging God to spare the life of his son.

“Not yet. All we know is that the Jerry James guy passed on the way to the hospital. Suicide.”

“Oh wow!”

“Yep. According to DSP, after the team rushed in to retrieve those in the car, there was a sickening cutting sound they heard. Somehow, he grabbed a broken piece of glass and slit his throat before he was taken out. Didn’t make it.”

“Good Lord! Ei!”

“Hmmm. Some of these criminals eh. It’s like they’ll rather kill themselves than be captured. It’s crazy.”

“What about the other guy?”

“No word on his condition yet. None concerning the children either. Information given to me was that it seems pretty serious, though. Our hope is that they all survive. We need them all.”

“Hmmm, we pray so. But honestly, it sounds like it was intentional. Like he deliberately made that sharp turn just to flip the truck over. What kind of evil people do we have on this planet? Ei! Wicked and unreasonable men for real.”

“Chairman, this world has so many of them. Human beings who won’t blink at the opportunity to hurt another person. No matter how vulnerable they are. My brother, it’s amazing.”

“So-so, they were going to sell them off?” Robert asked quietly.

“Yeah. At the Afram Plains. That side of town has become a hub for that activity. We’ve caught a number of traffickers there in recent times. Released a lot of children who were being made to work under extremely dangerous conditions. It’s just amazing what the love of money can do. No wonder the Bible says it’s the root of all evil.”

Nana Kyereme shook his head. “Indeed. So in love with money, you’re willing to do the worst to little children. Goodness!”

“Hmmm,” Robert sighed. “Well, I just pray to God that my baby boy is OK. And the other children, for that matter. None of their parents deserve to lose their child because of these cold, selfish bastards. None of them.

***

DSP Bentil stood to his feet and saluted as his superior and two other gentlemen walked through the entrance of the Atlantis Clinic. SP Larbi introduced them to the deputy, who shook their hands and gestured to the seats nearby, asking Robert and Nana Kyereme to take a seat. As they did, he walked away with his superior, who gave him some needed information.

As they sat, Nana Kyereme looked around. “I wonder if any of the parents of the other children have been informed yet,” he mused.

“Yeah. Looks like the others are yet to be identified. Chale,” Robert responded, shaking his head at the thought of it.

“Hmmm. From the look of things, they probably might have been on their way to becoming child slaves if Benji’s issue hadn’t been put out there so quickly. Crazy.”

As Robert nodded, the two senior police officers returned from their discussion point and walked to the two. Robert looked up at them.

“Mr. Bart-Plange, Mr. Kyereme, I’ve just been given some information that is pretty… bittersweet.”

Robert’s heart jumped into his mouth.

“The latest news coming from the doctors attending to the victims and the surviving suspect is that three out of the five, Benjamin included, sustained traumatic head injuries. He also sustained a broken arm. They’re undergoing treatment at the moment. But from all indications, the conditions are not very critical. They should manage to pull through.”

Robert and Nana Kyereme gave huge sighs of relief. That was the most relieving piece of information the former had heard in a long time. “Oh, God, thank You! Thank You for saving my son! Thank You so much!” he whimpered, tears of joy in his eyes as Nana Kyereme lifted his hands in victory.

After a minute, Nana then asked, “But wait… you said three of them. You mean…”

DSP Bentil nodded sadly. “Yes, unfortunately, two of the little ones didn’t make it. Their bodies could not handle the resulting trauma. They’re gone.”

The two put their hands over their mouths. “Oh God!” Nana Kyereme gasped. “Owww!”

Robert shook his head. “Wow. Terrible. I’m grateful my son is alive, but… damn, someone else just lost his or her child. That’s devastating.”

“Indeed. At least, I get to give you good news. But once we identify the others and have to inform the parents of the deceased, it’s going to be something else. Been at this job for thirty-two years, and these things never get easy,” SP Larbi said sullenly. “To inform a parent that their child is no more. Hmmm…”

Robert saw the look of pain on the superintendent’s face and sighed. He felt absolutely relieved to know that Benji was safe, even though he had suffered injuries. Of course, he would choose that over him dying any day of the week. But he knew it would be tough for SP Larbi to tell the unfortunate parents of the two departed children the bad news. Indeed, it never would be easy, no matter how long he had been doing it.

“The remaining suspect is also on admission,” DSP Bentil added. “He sustained a broken cheekbone and concussion, plus various cuts on the face. He’s also not in a critical condition. We’ll have him face the full rigours of the law once he recovers.”

He sighed after that. “Jerry James, though. That man slipped through our fingers yet again. For good, this time. Well…”

“So… uh, when do I get to see my son?” Robert asked.

“I’ve informed the doctor of your presence, so when he’s done, he’ll come and meet with you. Excuse us for a moment, please.”

As the policemen walked away once again, Nana Kyereme took out his phone and called Godfred.

“Yeah, Godfred. Chale, by God’s grace, Benji is safe. Just some injuries bi he sustain in some accident. But chale, people be wicked for this world inside oo. Herh…”

***

An hour and a half later, the doctor attending to his son came to meet the two men sitting around, trying their best to while away the time by discussing different issues. Leading them to the ward in which Benji rested, he gave them an update on how the youngster was faring.

“He might show some extra sensitivity to light for a while, due to the head injury. And of course, his arm is in a sling, so please be cautious when you see him. He’s still in a bit of pain.”

“Noted,” Robert responded.

The doctor opened the door to the ward. He gestured toward the bed right ahead of him.

There, sitting up in his bed, right arm in a cast, was Benjamin Bart-Plange.

“Daddy!”

Robert didn’t need to be told to rush over. He immediately sprinted towards his son, tears in his eyes.

“Benji!!” he gasped as he embraced his son as tightly as he could, minding the broken arm. “Oh God, Benji, I’m so happy to see you again! I’ve been worried sick since you disappeared. I was so scared. Thought I’d never see my little boy again…”

The youngster sobbed as he flung his good arm around his father’s neck. “It was scary, Daddy. This bad man, he called me, promised me chocolate. Then suddenly, he carried me into his car and…”

“I can only imagine, Benji. But it’s all over now. Daddy’s here. Nobody’s ever gonna do anything bad to you. I promise. The police have the bad guys now. And you’re coming back home with me.”

Benji didn’t say much, choosing to shed tears of relief as he relished the embrace of his father. Indeed, the past few days had been frightening. From being grabbed just outside his school compound by a very friendly-sounding stranger to being transported to a place very far from home. Joining a group of little ones his age in a bare room in a mansion, equally as petrified and stricken by their plight as him. Spending nights soaked in tears, wishing he was back in his nice, warm, comfy bed, his father praying with him before saying goodnight, instead of the hard floor and a very unfriendly-looking gentleman who only ever peeked his head in to the room to see what they were doing.

Like his daddy said, it was all over now.

***

“You want a way out? I’ll show you a way out!”

Those were the last words he heard before Jerry James, out of the blue, did a sudden sharp turn.

With the truck moving at its highest speed, this caused it to turn over.

A frightened “JESUS!” scream sprouted from his lips as the vehicle flipped over. Somersaulting about two or three times, there were screams and cries from him and the children who had awoken.

As it came to a halt on its left side, he remained strapped to his seat, his belt having kept him from falling off.

His face throbbing with intense pain, he felt a blackness taking hold of his body. As he drifted out of consciousness, the last words he heard were a defiant whisper…

“They’ll never take me alive!”

Jozi’s eyes popped open. Sitting up on his bed, he gasped for breath, holding his chest as he inhaled and exhaled a couple of times.

The throbbing sensation was still present. He felt pains elsewhere. The light felt a little too bright.

But he was alive.

Thank goodness!

Just then, two neatly uniformed policemen entered his ward.

Jozi felt his heart sink once his eyes fell upon them.

This was it. It had been pretty rewarding while it lasted. But it was obvious; once he had been brought to the hospital by the police, nobody needed to inform him that this quest to become richer had backfired badly.

He may have woken up from that disturbing nightmare, a reminder of what had occurred a few hours earlier, but reality had a bigger nightmare in store for him. And there was no way to escape this one.

It was over for him…

So Robert and Benji are reunited, and Jozi’s gonna be dealt with. Appropriate, I think. Tomorrow’s the conclusion of this mini-series!!

© Qwamenah 2019

Categories
Where's My Little Boy

Where’s My Little Boy? Pt 5

The culprits are on their way to the plains. Will they make it through or get caught? Let’s see…

“My queen! My love! Oh God, I miss you so much. Why did you have to go so soon? We weren’t done living life together. My life is so hollow without you, Sams. Why did you have to leave me this way?”

In a tight embrace with his wife, Robert could not stop the tears from flowing, as he held onto the beautiful human being who had departed a few years ago in the most tragic of circumstances.

Samira simply stayed silent, rubbing his back as her arms were locked tightly around his waist.

“Robbie darling,” she murmured. “Things don’t always go the way we expect them to. Life can be a cruel waitress at times, serving you with the most horrid of situations. But baby, the past can’t be changed. What has happened has happened, as awful and unfortunate as it was. And I’m at peace where I am now. So take heart.”

Still sobbing, he kissed her forehead and looked into her eyes. “Samira, it’s just not the same without you. Our Saturday mornings where we’d listen to The Big Issue and yell out our agreements and disagreements with the panelists. Our special Marwako dates where you’d buy fried rice, yet eat half of my chips. Babe, I can’t listen to any Celine Dion song anymore; all I’ll remember is your love for her music. And I can’t buy ice cream from Pinkberry anymore, your favourite. Honey, it’s just not the same without you! It isn’t! I’m a flipping wreck without you!”

She held his cheeks and looked into his eyes, from which many tears rolled out with that painful speech. She ruefully smiled. “Beautiful memories, I know. Sweetest of memories. But that’s all we get to hold onto now. The great divide between us is too large.”

He wiped his face, still overwhelmed with grief. “I know. But God knows I’d do anything to have you back, Sams. I’d do the ridiculously impossible if it meant I could spend another five minutes with you once more. I love you, Samira. I love you and I miss you so much!”

“Robbie, I love you too. I do. But you know it’s time to move on. It’s been three years, darling, and you need to find love again. Don’t spend the rest of your life mourning me. Besides, I love it here. Wouldn’t wanna return to earth for anything. Hehe.”

Robert shut his eyes, the grief still bubbling in his chest.

“Take care of our son, honey. You still have him. And he needs you to be strong for the two of you. Let him know I love him, and I always will.”

More tears streamed down his face.

“Robert!……Robert!”

Robert woke up with a start, breathing heavily. Nana Kyereme shook his head as he moved to his side. “Chale, this kidnapper person has messed you up big time. You’re crying in your dreams.”

Robert didn’t realize the tear strains on his face until he wiped his left eye. He sighed and shook his head. “It’s messed me up. I keep thinking about Sams, and Benjy. The two just..” he sighed as he ran out of words.

“Take it easy, Robert. Take it easy,” Nana said soothingly, rubbing his shoulder. “I can only imagine how awful a time this is for you right now. That’s why you’re here. We’re here for you.”

Taking his time to breathe, Robert reached for his phone. No sign of a call from the superintendent.

He tossed it back on to the table and sighed. “Still no word on where Benji is. God, this is torment!”

“Hmmmm.” Nana had no words. He knew there were many cases where it took months for the missing children to be found, but that would hardly be of any help to his distraught friend at that moment. “I know it’s rough. But we just have to hold on to faith and believe that the police are doing all they can to find him.”

***

DSP Ekow Bentil and a number of officers from the Anti Human Trafficking Unit sat in their vehicles, parked at the Kpone Police Barrier, waiting in anticipation for the arrival of a Hyundai Mighty truck.

The deputy Superintendent shook his head as he folded his arms. “Jerry James Biney. Such a slippery monster,” he muttered to the other officer in the car, ASP Enoch Johnson. “If I had a cedi for every headache that bastard has given me since he escaped, I’d be owner of half the properties in Trasacco.”

ASP Enoch chuckled in agreement. “Say it again. It’s like he’s always five steps ahead of us. As if he himself drops the intelligence just to make a fool out of us. I just pray to God he doesn’t slip through our fingers this time around.”

“Hopefully not. Since he’s on this journey with that Joseph Ampong guy, we should nab him. I personally can’t understand why that young man is involved in this wicked trade, though. I mean, young successful man. Your business is already flourishing. What again are you looking for? Ah!”

“Hmmm. Some of these young people, you just can’t understand them. They are never satisfied with what they have. It’s amazing…”

***

Jozi grinned as he busily typed certain messages on his WhatsApp. “De-graft and his love for sticker conversations,” he murmured to himself in amusement.

He couldn’t help but feel glad Jerry James was around. It meant he was spared from driving for the trip. Of course, he hadn’t been the one driving the first time he had some youngsters sold off, but the thought of driving nine hours filled him with dread. So he was relieved that he could catch up on some chats and hopefully also take a nap.

He sensed Jerry James giving him the side eye as he enjoyed his chats, but he chose not to pay him any attention. Inasmuch as he was grateful to the man for introducing him to a sharp means of making mega cash, he was pretty peeved at how he had been spoken to by him. So he wanted to ignore him as much as possible and only talk when necessary.

Now on the Accra-Aflao road, time check 10:11, they were approaching the Kpone Barrier.

“So we’re almost at the police barrier,” Jerry James began in a low voice, his eyes fixed on the road. “Remember what you need to do.”

Jozi nodded, his gaze fixed on his phone screen. “Yeah. Tell them we have an emergency delivery to make to Royal Senchi. Be charming and respectful. Tip them, if necessary. I got it.”

“Good.”

As the truck got closer to the barrier, the policeman at the side of the road raised his hand, the usual indication that they should slow down.

Jerry James stepped gently on the brakes as he drew to a stop. “Here he comes,” he hissed at Jozi as the policeman approached the vehicle. Standing by the right side of the truck, he waited as Jozi rolled down the glass. Once it was done, he flashed him a charming smile and warmly greeted, “Fine evening, Officer!”

The officer kept a straight, emotionless face as he responded, “Good evening, sir. May I ask where you’re headed to?”

“Oh, yes boss. Some emergency bi ooo. Royal Senchi needs some fish. Called me just this evening that it’s urgent. So I’m on my way with my driver to deliver them. Real inconvenience, but chale, it’s all part of the hustle!”

“Mr. Joseph Ampong?” the policeman asked, barely cracking so much as a slight grin.

“Yes boss! Owner of Jozi Frozen Fish stores. That’s me!” Jozi answered cheerily, the charming smile still plastered to his face.

The policeman stepped back, switched on his torch and flashed it at the side of the truck, where he saw the sticker for Jozi’s business. The two relaxed their tense muscles, anticipating his response that they continue with their journey.

“Gentlemen, please step out of the vehicle immediately.”

The two were stunned by that order.

“Uh, Officer,” Jozi began, “no offence or anything, but… I beg waa, please, can we just be allowed to go? We’ve been given a time limit and…”

“Please, gentlemen, don’t make my work difficult for me. Step out of the vehicle!”

“Boss, please, I beg! If I lose this contract, it’ll be a huge blow for me!”

“Please, please, please, it’s a simple order. Step out of the vehicle right now!”

As Jozi and the officer went back and forth on coming out of the vehicle, Jerry James’ eyes darted to the other side, where he noticed another policeman approaching the vehicle. He frowned and squinted as he noted the officer’s style of walking. I know this weird walking style. But from where?

It took a couple of seconds before it clicked.

That walking style was one he had noted when he was being arraigned for court the time he had gotten arrested. Belonging to some Fante man. He couldn’t remember the name, but he remembered which branch of the service he belonged to.

The Anti Human Trafficking Unit.

This was a trap. Despite their plan to sell the children off quickly so they’d be relieved of any immediate suspicion, it looked like the police had actually beaten him to it.

“… please, Officer!”

“Mr Man, for the last time, I said get down from your vehicle!”

“Jerry James Biney!”

The booming voice of the oncoming officer confirmed his worst fears. It was him! And somehow someway, he knew it was him in the truck.

Jerry James immediately switched the engine on, pulled the gear into reverse and moved from the barrier, doing a 3 point turn as fast as he could before speeding off.

***

“What the hell is happening right now?” Jozi wondered out loud in an irritated tone of voice, visibly shaken by the demands of the policeman, as well as the sudden turn. “How did he know it’s you?”

Not sooner had he spoken than the sounds of police sirens began blaring behind them. The deputy superintendent and his men were in hot pursuit.

Jerry James shook his head, looking confused as he kept his foot down on the accelerator. “I dunno, I dunno! I have no idea.”

“But I thought you were the slippery eel that can never be caught,” Jozi said sarcastically. “What happened? Suddenly lost your magic or something?”

“Look, will you be quiet?” Jerry James snapped. “I don’t know how this is happening. I didn’t expect this. I didn’t.”

“So as you’ve turned back, what are we doing? Going back to Prampram? Returning them to their families?”

SHUT UP!” Jerry James roared, already growing weary of the scornful words coming from Jozi’s mouth.

“NO, I WON’T SHUT UP!” Jozi yelled back. “I don’t know what kind of stupid brain fart you’re on right now, but I want my money. So I don’t care what’s happening out there, you better find a way out of this right now, or walahi…”

Jozi’s roars became a distant sound as his ears began picking up others.

The cry of a child. Looked like one of the children had not been given a strong enough dose, and was now awake and crying, obviously wondering where he was.

The police sirens growing louder with each passing second. Meaning they were getting closer to the truck. No surprise, considering it was no speed machine.

The sound of his own thoughts that day he broke out of prison. From that triumphant proclamation of freedom to the solemn vow he made.

… I’ll rather kill myself than let these brainless police guys catch me and have me sent back to prison!

The child’s cries. The loud thoughts. The ever increasing siren. Jozi’s angry rant.

All these bombarded his ears with a fervent fury, causing him to grit his teeth as he tried hard to focus on the road and go as fast as possible.

But they kept hitting at him.

Hitting hard.

“Herh, look, you better be finding a way out ooo. Hmmm! You don’t know me, eh. Yooo!”

Then he snapped.

“You want a way out? I’ll show you a way out!”

***

The police vehicle came to a slow stop, as DSP Ekow Bentil and his men in the car watched in shock and horror at what just unravelled before them in the course of ten seconds.

“Awurade Yesu!” one of them gasped, his hand over his mouth.

DSP Ekow blinked, inhaled and exhaled loudly.

“God Almighty! Men! Go get them! Be quick! We can’t lose any of them! Not a single one! Go, go, go!”

What just happened? And in all this, is Robert’s son OK? We find out tomorrow!

Categories
Where's My Little Boy

Where’s My Little Boy? Pt 4

Well, the report’s been made. What’s left is for the boy and the other kids to be saved. Let’s see what’s next…

Awurade eeeeeeeeeeeeee!! M’awu oooooooooooooooooooo!!!

Ao! Ao! Ao!

Whyyyyyyyy? God, whyyyyyy??

Superintendent Joseph Larbi snapped out of his unpleasant reverie, eyes blood-shot.

It was 8 pm, and he had briefly drifted into an unpleasant doze, his subconscious deciding to replay the results of the last two cases he had dealt with that had not gone well. The first found the young girl dead after being raped, and the whereabouts of the second one was still a mystery.

To say it was worrying was an understatement. The wails of the murdered child’s parents were impossible to get out of his brain. Aside that also was the fact that these stories found their way into the media, and of course, that meant the public confidence was dropping with each passing day. It wouldn’t be long until calls for his head started making the rounds on social media and the like.

As he got up and walked up and down the office, mumbling prayers more to himself than to God, the phone rang.

Maintaining his composure, he calmly picked it up and answered.

After about a minute or so of listening, he exclaimed, “What??!! That Mr. Ampong guy? The one who owns JOZI Frozen Fish stores? My goodness!”

He listened further, then shook his head. “The voice note had Jerry James on it? Unbelievable!”

He rushed to his desk, taking out a pen and writing the details being given to him.

“Alright, excellent. Perfect. Thank you, Sergeant.”

Hanging up the phone, he went straight for his other phone and immediately called the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Eastern Region Police Command.

“DSP! Intelligence reaching me indicates that the little boy Benjamin Bart-Plange has been located somewhere in Prampram, along with four other children currently unidentified. Currently in the possession of one Joseph Ampong, who is working with Jerry James. Yes, the notorious Jerry James. The intelligence further indicates that they will be moving to the Afram Plains. Plans to set off at 2100 GMT, so they arrive by 0600 tomorrow. We need personnel at your end to apprehend them as soon as possible. I repeat, as soon as possible!”

***

A few minutes to 9 o’ clock.

Jozi looked impatiently at his watch as he walked around the house. Dressed in a red lacoste shirt and jeans, he made his way to the guest room downstairs to check on the children and see if they had eaten the food they had been given.

He opened the door and peered inside.

The five youngsters, all between the ages of 6 and 8, including Benjamin Bart-Plange, were huddled together, shivering and crying, having picked at bits of the food. They may have been hungry, but terror and the desire to be back home with their parents outweighed that.

Jozi shook his head and shut the door.

The desire for wealth was something that had always driven him. From the days of his youth till date, some of his favourite mottos were Ɛnfa ohia nka nkwasiasem (don’t use poverty to talk rubbish) and wonni sika aa, wose kelewele ma jaundice (because you don’t have money, you claim kelewele gives jaundice). For him, money was an essential aspect of life, and he would do whatever was necessary to make lots of it. To proclaim that money is not everything was the talk of fools to his ear.

Of course, there was nothing wrong with his desire to be wealthy. The issue was that he loved money and the finer things in life so much, he had developed the willingness to do whatever it took to make it.

Even though he owned a frozen fish store which did very well and was the source of his money, he was not satisfied. He wanted more. The lifestyle of fancy cars, dapper suits, respect and all was too addictive to remain where he was.

This led him to discover about the lucrative business model of human trafficking. Finding it preferable to drug and illegal arms trade – trades he considered cliché – he opted to go for it. His first meeting with Mr. Jerry James Biney, a veteran in the trade who was highly elusive and could be super difficult to trace, was a smooth one, where the forty-plus year old man welcomed him on board and assured him he’d be swimming in wads of cash in no time flat.

So far, he had overseen the sale of some seven children to one boat master. The low-key nature of the job, coupled with the heavy proceeds that followed, left him pretty mind-blown and left him convinced that this was what he needed to keep his bank account and life comfortable. He had a good reputation too, with his humble, cool disposition and his regular acts of charity within the community, so being exposed was highly unlikely.

Did he feel bad about separating children from their parents and having them sold off into a life of hard labour? Sometimes. But he reminded himself of his number one aim in life whenever that happened, and that seemed to possess enough bullets to shoot down his conscience.

His phone rang at exactly 9 o’clock. It was Jerry James.

“I’m outside. The truck is ready. Have they eaten?”

“Barely. They just picked at the food a bit.”

The master trafficker sighed over the phone. “Oh well, I anticipated something like this. Good thing I have some anesthesia here, just in case.”

Jozi was stunned. “Huh? How the… where did you…”

“Never mind. That’s not what matters. Just come and open the gate and let me deal with them so we can move straight away. By the way, it seems you dropped your credit card outside…”

***

As Jozi walked out of the house, with the limp body of Benji on his shoulder, he locked the door and carried the little one to the truck, where Jerry James, clad in a T-shirt Jozi’s workers wore, took the unconscious boy and placed him beside the other children, also knocked out by the dosage administered to them. He then carried the few boxes of frozen fish Jozi had left outside earlier into the truck to conceal them.

Jozi shook his head. “I still can’t believe you didn’t just bring that up when we spoke earlier. Would’ve been easier to just knock them out with the anesthesia myself, instead of…”

“Gentleman, do you know not any idiot can just get up and administer this?” Jerry James snapped back as he zipped up the back of the truck, having placed a sticker of Jozi’s business on each side of it. “Do it wrong and you’ll end up killing them. In any case, feeding them was necessary. They need the little strength they can get. It’s gonna be a hard life for them afterwards.”

Jozi looked uninterested. “Well, you know my major concern is the mon…”

“Massa, we’re all doing it for the money. It’s not an excuse to do a lackadaisical job. If you’re going to do it, do it well and stop that ‘I only care about the money’ rubbish. Do I look like I do it for anything else? Have you gotten more out of this than me?”

Jozi was silent. No use arguing with the older and more experienced man. He had a point, after all.

Jerry James stood in front of him. “Now listen to me, young man. I’m helping you out because of how critical this situation is, with the way the Benji boy’s info is rapidly spreading. Once I’m with you, you better listen to what I say and follow my leadings. You’re only gonna go far if you humble yourself and actually learn. Can you slip through the hands of the police like me? Can you remain as elusive as I? Can you claim to know the tricks of the trade more than me? Huh?”

Jozi shook his head reluctantly.

“Good. Then we’re clear about one thing: you don’t know this business more than me. So no more misbehaviour. Follow my lead and stop questioning me as if you know better. Understood?”

“Yes, sir. Sorry for the sauciness.”

“I hear you. Now let’s get moving! It’s 9:07. Got to move immediately!” he barked as he unzipped the bag he was carrying and took out a fake beard and spectacles, fitting them on his face before jumping into the driver’s seat and starting up the car.

Hopefully the police catch them in time…

© Qwamenah 2019

Categories
Where's My Little Boy

Where’s My Little Boy? Pt 3

Now we know who’s behind the kidnapping. What are the boys gonna do at this point? Let’s see…

The young girl giggled as she looked intently into the eyes of the boy in front of her. “You’re serious, Stringazy?”

“More than serious, Maa Adwoa,” Stringazy responded, secretly rejoicing at the current position he found himself in. his longtime crush in the corner of the wall of her house, him leaning towards her, spewing out all the romantic words he had been itching to tell her. “I’m crazy about you, girl. And I’ll do anything to make you my lady. Just give me a chance.”

Maa Adwoa smiled shyly, turning away from his loving gaze. She was clearly surprised at this proposal, but pleasantly so. “I… I… I want to think about it first.”

“Don’t keep me waiting too long, African queen. I know what I want and need, and it’s you.”

She giggled. No doubt, she was enjoying being wooed by Stringazy. All this was giving him hope that his dream of having her as his girlfriend was not far from becoming a reality.

He briefly took out his phone upon hearing the familiar message beep as she murmured something about needing to get inside the house before her parents came home. His eyes widened as he saw a message from Azah.

CRITICAL EMERGENCY!

“Alright, alright, baby. I’ll catch you later,” he said rather hurriedly as he walked off, his eyes on the phone as he waited for the next message to arrive. Considering the words were in capital letters, it had to be serious.

The next message came up after about 5 minutes, and it had Stringazy screaming, “WHAATT!!”

The message after that was: Get Johnson and go to P/W Sergeant Derek Jahara’s place and inform him right now!

That next message didn’t make Stringazy too happy, and he knew Johnson would not be enthusiastic about it either. But considering the magnitude of the issue at hand, it would be ridiculously selfish to refuse to go to the Sergeant’s place.

He immediately called Johnson.

“Chale, Johnson! We get some serious emergency. From the look of things, we for go see Sergeant Jahara right now.”

Sergeant Jahara?!” Johnson asked incredulously over the phone. “Ei! Guy! What are you talking about?”

“Massa, I know! I know. But the issue at hand be serious. You, I dey come. I go explain everything as we dey go…”

***

“Hmm! You boys! What are you doing here?” Rose asked disapprovingly as the two of them stood in front of her.

The boys squirmed uncomfortably. This was undoubtedly like a lion’s den for them. Hostility from the very entrance to the ‘holy of holies’.

The two of them, while in secondary school, had been chasing one of the sergeant’s daughters and one of his nieces. The sharp police officer had caught wind of the pair’s advances and was not pleased at all. The fact that they didn’t have a glowing reputation around did not help their cause either, so when they passed by the area, hoping to see the girls, they had an unpleasant surprise when he met them before they even entered the flats and gave them a good dressing down. They immediately ran away, and since then, the thought of being within 50 feet of the police flats gave them nightmares.

“Please, Madam, we need to see Sergeant Jahara. It’s about a very urgent issue,” Johnson explained calmly.

Rose looked at him skeptically. She was never a fan of him chasing her little sister; she saw him as a non-serious being, and his failure to obtain university admission had only cemented that. “You want to see him about a very urgent issue,” she repeated snidely. “What issue is that, if I might ask?”

“It’s a serious case. Has to do with his work, please. Time is running!” Stringazy interjected politely. “If we don’t act fast, some people will be in trouble.”

The skeptical look had not departed from her eyes, and to an extent, she still had plenty misgivings about their appearance there. But she shrugged and said, “Wait. I’m telling him.”

As she closed the door, the two stood outside, waiting. She returned about a minute later, signaling them to come in.

They walked into the living room, where the sergeant was seated. Their hands behind their backs, they held their breaths. This sergeant was a big man, about 6 feet 3, with heavy arms, a bald head and booming voice that would send shivers down anyone’s spine. Memories of his super stern rebuke were far from distant in their minds.

He looked them up and down. “Reuben Johnson and Ebenezer Dadzie,” he said. “What do you want in my house?”

They felt shaken already. The way he said their real names was intimidating.

“Umm, s-s-sir. It’s… it’s about an urgent issue,” Stringazy started, his eyes on the officer’s steely gaze. “Our friend Azah just told me this evening about something he witnessed.”

“Mm-hm. Go on,” Sergeant Jahara responded, his facial expression unchanged.

Stringazy continued, “He said this evening, he was returning something to Mr. Joseph Ampong’s house when he saw him talking to another gentleman. And from what he heard, it seems like Mr. Ampong is involved in a trafficking ring.”

Sergeant Jahara looked stunned by that last statement. He sat up. “Are you serious?”

“Yes, sir. In fact, from what Azah mentioned, it looks like he knows something about the Benjamin boy that’s missing.”

Sergeant Jahara looked even more stunned by that admission. He rose to his feet. “Are you sure of what you’re saying, boys?”

Stringazy nodded, feeling quite intimidated as the giant policeman stood before them, dwarfing them with his size. “He-he-he sent me a few messages to show to you. It has to do with the plans he and some other guy have.”

“Let me see them.”

Stringazy quickly took out his phone and opened the chat with Azah and handed it over to Sergeant Jahara, who squinted as he looked at the chats.

CRITICAL EMERGENCY!!

Chale, the Benjy boy them kidnap am, he’s with Jozi! He and some four other children bi lydat. And some trafficker bi too is here. They’re planning to take them to the plains. 9pm tonight. They’re hoping to get there by morning.

Get Johnson and go to P/W Sergeant Derek Jahara’s place and inform him right now!

Sergeant Jahara shook his head as he frowned at the screen, trying to digest what had been sent. A part of him doubted this was true; Joseph Ampong had a pretty high reputation among the people in their town, and to pin such an allegation on him sounded a bit like a stretch. But, inasmuch as he knew these boys to be lax and indolent towards life, surely they wouldn’t go as far as to tarnish another person’s name, would they?

Besides, the young men in front of him were terrified of him after he had properly lambasted them over their antics with his daughter. It was highly unlikely they would come around to play such a prank.

Or was it?

As he debated within himself, a new message popped up.

Update: Illiasu recorded the whole thing. He and the trafficker guy. Ibi like his name is Jerry James.

The name at the end of that message had Sergeant Jahara sucking his breath in sharply.

“Yehowa!” he exclaimed. “Jerry James?! Amazing!”

Jerry James was a notorious child trafficker, who had been active in the illicit trade for a while now. He had been arrested, convicted and imprisoned a few years back, but escaped from prison and had been on the loose since. The police force had him at the very top of their Wanted list, but somehow, it was virtually impossible to touch him. He was excellent at being evasive.

The message from Azah came a moment later. Sergeant Jahara quickly switched to the chat and downloaded the audio before hitting play.

“So we move at nine o’ clock, correct?”

“Nine o’clock. It’s a nine-hour journey, so we have to ensure we get the kids there around six in the morning. We’re using the Hyundai Mighty truck, not this one. The kids will have more space in there.”

“Fine. That’s settled.”

“Have you given them something to eat?”

“Uh, no. Should I?”

“Ah, Jozi! What kind of stupid question is that? Of course! Ah, do you want them to starve to death in the truck?”

“Alright, alright, I’ve heard you. Massa, me, it’s the money I’m thinking about ooo. All this charity charity…”

“Massa, massa, use your common sense. Long journey like that, they must have something to eat before we take them to their new workplace. You don’t just treat them basabasa like that. You think the people we’re dealing with will accept such things?”

“I’ve heard, ah! I’ll go and feed them when you leave. Hoh.”

The audio continued for about a minute. When it ended, Sergeant Jahara quietly handed the phone over to Stringazy.

There was no doubt about it, it wasn’t a silly prank or a malicious character assassination attempt. He recognized those voices very well. Indeed, Jozi was doing business with Jerry James.

Shaking his head once again, he murmured as he took his seat, “Jerry James. That man. Biggest pain in the backside we’ve encountered in a while. More slippery than an eel.”

Stringazy and Johnson continued to stand, waiting for a response.

Sergeant Jahara sighed, then looked at them. “Boys, I need you to keep mute about this to everybody else. What you’ve given me is very sensitive information concerning a criminal mastermind that’s been on the loose for a few years now. This stays between the four of you and myself, alright?”

The two nodded their heads obediently. “Yes, Sir. No problem, Sir,” they both responded.

“Good. I’m going to inform my superiors as soon as possible. And well done. You may well have saved some innocent children from child labour. You can go.”

“Yes, Sir, thank you, Sir,” they answered gratefully as they turned and headed for the door. Rose saw them out, the skeptical expression still etched on her face as she closed the door. Walking to her father in the living room, she asked cynically, “Paapa, those boys said something about some case. Were they serious or what?”

The sergeant, who was busily scrolling through his list of contacts, shook his head without looking up at his eldest daughter. “My dear, it is serious. Way more serious than you’d expect. Thanks to those boys, we know where little Benji is.”

Rose’s eyes widened. “What! You mean that six year old whose picture is all over Facebook and the like? Really?”

“Mm-hm. They’ve found him. What’s left now is the most crucial thing. To rescue him.”

Well, the boys have done the needful and reported to the police. Will they catch up with the traffickers in time? The remaining parts will let us know…

© Qwamenah 2019

Categories
Where's My Little Boy

Where’s My Little Boy? Pt 2

So, poor Robert is in a bad place, with his little boy missing. Who’s behind it? Let’s find out if we’ll know the culprit…

#PrayersUpForMissingBenji

As Azah pressed the tweet button on his phone, he looked at the tweet with satisfaction, turned the screen off and placed the phone in his pocket.

Time to meet with the boys outisde.

Stepping out, he met the usual suspects.

Stringazy, Johnson and Illiasu.

“Chale, what dey happen?”

As the homies huddled in a group, greeting each other with the various secret handshake combinations they had taught themselves, it was clear they were ready for another day of doing what they did best.

Roam the streets of Prampram as they always did, hang around and spy on the ladies that passed their way. If the timing was right, maybe attempt to pick up a number or two.

Having failed to gain admission to university, these four boys were SHS graduates who chose to go the easy way of just ‘chilling’. The complaints were many from their parents, but they were carefree. None of them did drugs, and showing up at bars and getting drunk wasn’t a constant for them, so they were convinced in themselves that they weren’t so bad.

As they moved along the streets, discussion topics centered on the latest social media trends, Azah spoke up and said, “Chale, you guys hear about the Benjamin kiddie?”

“Yeah, chale. Ibi worrying matter paa. I no sure sey the mommi then poppi fit bed. Ibi crazy, chale,” Illiasu remarked.

“Oh, I sure sey them go find am,” Stringazy responded.

They discussed the issue for a couple of minutes, then went back to arguing over who the best underground rapper was.

As they continued their rather loud debate, Azah’s side eye took note of the parked car on the opposite side of the road near the Pram Mall.

A sleek, white Chevrolet Malibu.

Meaning that Jozi was around.

Real name Joseph Ampong, he was well known by many in town. The classy young man who was often found at events looking super dapper, with a cute smile and a charming personality that had everyone attracted to him. With a calm, respectful demeanour to boot, he was one with a positive reputation.

He was on good terms with the guys, even though he didn’t really bond with them that much. Every time they met up, he was busy on his usual rounds, and had time for only a few wassups and I deys and small talk.

It was very likely it would be the same this time round, but that didn’t stop Azah and Johnson from heading in the direction of the car, just to admire it as they usually did.

“Chale, these customized rims eh, sizeless oo!” Johnson exclaimed as they got close. The windows were tinted, so it was difficult to look inside. They were sure it was his usual documents scattered all over the seats, as he often said when he spoke to them.

Azah nodded. Stepping back to take a look at the license plate, which read JOZI – 18, he said, “I see this license plate saaa, but still, edey bee me roff…”

“HEY!”

The two, startled by that, looked up.

It was Jozi.

In a three-piece suit as usual, he was walking briskly towards them. The look on his face, however, was far from friendly.

“Hey, will you move away from my car? Get away from it! Hurry up!”

The looks of utter shock on the faces of the two, and the other guys at the other side were plain to see. This was not the first time Jozi had seen them admiring the car, and he had never flipped out on them and yelled at them before. With the way he was moving, though, they knew it would be wise to do what he said, so they quickly joined the others.

Jozi glared at them as he pressed the unlock button on his car key. “Useless boys! You won’t get something better to do with your lives! Do something useful with yourselves for once! Such rubbish!” he yelled before getting into the car, starting the engine and speeding off.

The boys looked confused.

“Ah, but this guy too, why?” Johnson wondered, clearly miffed by Jozi’s hurtful outburst. “Ah, have we damaged his car or something? This guy paaa…”

“See some trash he tell we too,” Illiasu fumed. “Ah. This guy, I shock give am waaa. Because of car, you dey use nasty words. Why, we no see this car before? Better ones no dey town? Hoh. He make I bore.”

As the others made their feelings about his vitriol towards them clear, Azah noticed something on the floor where the car had been. He quickly crossed the road and walked over to see what it was.

It happened to be Jozi’s credit card.

“Guys! Come see something!” he yelled to the others, who he realized within a second were already behind him. “Look, it’s Jozi’s credit card. Must have fallen out of the car when he opened the door, or something like that.”

“Good. We for damage am kraaa. Teach am lesson,” Johnson said, a smug look on his face, obviously relishing the prospect of wreaking vengeance upon Mr. Dapper.

“Oh, naaaa. Not a good idea,” Stringazy rebutted.

“Guy, you no hear the trash he just flow we?”

“Massa, forget that. He make I bore, but destroying the card no be right. Make we return am. Simple. If we do that sef, he go make shy.”

Johnson didn’t look convinced. “Chale, me, I no dey like nonsense. Left to me, he no go get that card back. Ah, we no touch the car sef, you come shout shout like we dey hold planks wey we dey come smash the windows. I no dey like that.”

“Ma guy, relax,” Azah ordered. “Make you no stress your body. I’ll go with Illiasu to his place to return it.”

“Ei, but what if he starts accusing us of stealing it?” Stringazy then wondered aloud.

Azah shook his head. “The car was locked. He pressed the unlock button in front of us, and it opened. There’s no damage on the car. There’s nothing he can use as a weapon against us, if he suddenly went down that lane. So forget that. Won’t work. Illy, make we go.”

Illiasu shrugged, then followed Azah as the other two were left behind.

Johnson shook his head. “Honestly, the thing go me waaa. Ah, from nowhere oo, Stringazy. From nowhere.”

“Boy, just forget am. You go stress your brain,” Stringazy ordered. “Make we go the supermarket inside. I get feeling sey Lisa go dey around.”

The big frown on Johnson’s face disappeared upon hearing that name. A big smirk on his face now, he nodded. “Sweet! As for today, I for get her number. The way I mean am, eh. Walahi!”

***

“But chale, Jozi too, with this big mansion of his, he no go get some people make them clear the bushes for this side?” Illiasu wondered out loud as he and Azah walked along a narrow road, the left turn leading to a resplendent mansion that belonged to Jozi, located in a rather remote side of town. Not too many people lived at that side, so he didn’t have neighbours.

“I dey wonder myself. Coz ibi dangerous. Squad dey there wey them mean am. Them go fit hide in those bushes then strike at any time,” Azah responded, looking at the overgrown bushes. “The ones just at the end of this road be big enough to conceal anybody. Biggie sef go fit hide wey nobody go see am.”

“Ah, seriously?” Illiasu asked. “You sure?”

“Of course! If you like, make we step inside then see. You naa, you go see sey these bushes be dangerous give am. Anyone fit to hide for there then time am.”

At that, the boys quickened their steps and found themselves at the bushes Azah spoke of. They gently stepped into the overgrown thicket and found a spot where they could crouch. Rustling through to ensure there were no dangerous pests, they crouched in the spot.

“You see? The place dey hide we totally. This one, Jozi no go see anything,” Azah said with a rather satisfied tone of voice. Nothing made him feel more pleased than being right.

Illiasu went on his knees and looked around. Noting a little space between some patches of weeds, he looked through them and said, “You go fit spy from here too oo. Just be sey you no go see the front gate. But I dey see some truck bi for here…”

There was the sound of a gate opening. The boys, realizing they were not in the best place to be seen by whoever it was that was opening that gate, kept themselves still and remained hidden.

Illiasu shook his head as he remained on his knees and hands to the floor. Leave it to Azah to think of something as hare-brained as this. And leave it to Illiasu to blindly follow and only realize he should have discouraged him when the suggestion was made.

The sound of loud voices could be heard. From what their ears could pick up, Jozi was with another gentleman.

And he was not happy. Which was very evident from the belligerent manner in which he spoke. Something that most people who knew him were unfamiliar with.

And the gentleman he was with was not happy with him making his unhappiness so aggressively vocal.

“Jozi, for God’s sake, will you stop this tantrum? Ah, what childish life is this?” the gentleman snapped irritably. “Did you honestly think it’ll remain low-key this long? Of course not! You know social media will get this issue viral. There’s no sense in all this shouting and throwing your toys out of the pram. Let’s just get work on getting them to the plains.”

“The plains?” Azah murmured. “Afram Plains or what?”

“Fine, fine. Let’s just do it. This Benjy boy has caused me trouble. With how it’s all over the place, and I’m keeping him and the others here. Might as well do what ought to be done quickly. Let’s draw up the plan…”

Azah gasped. As Illiasu turned to him, wide-eyed, he said, “Chale, ibi like Jozi get a hand in the issue of the small boy them kidnap oo. Herh!”

“The plains too be notorious for those trafficking things oo. Ei, this be serious matter!”

As Azah strained his ears to hear what was being said, Illiasu took out his phone. As nicodemusly as he could, he opened the recorder app, hit the record button and pushed it in between the space between the patches of weeds, hoping he would be able to catch something.

So we have an idea of who’s responsible for it. The question is, will they be caught in time. Let’s hope so…

© Qwamenah 2019

Categories
Where's My Little Boy

Where’s My Little Boy? Pt 1

So in a few days, season 2 of Meet The Dolphynes will arrive. And it is going to be pretty dramatic this time around. Definitely looking forward to 6th December to see what’s gonna be happening with Dabar’s favourite family for the next few months.

In the meantime, though, here’s a mini-series from the Original M & D library, set to run for the next 7 days. The title says a lot, I’m sure, but stick around and enjoy the ride…

Robert lay prostrate on the floor, absolutely stressed out.

Sixty hours now. Nothing good had come through.

His brain was an absolute mess of confusion and bewilderment. Terrifying thoughts. Scary thoughts. Nightmarish thoughts. Hopeful thoughts. All these thoughts muddled up his brain, and as he lay there on the floor of his living room, thinking straight was a straight impossibility.

Where is he? Has somebody cut his head off? Has he been shipped off to another country? Has he been used for rituals? How do I live without him? What am I going to do? How do I swallow yet another loss?

Even with the madness going on in his brain, his ears remained alert as he remained prostrate, somehow hoping to hear the excited, ever-enthusiastic shouts of a little six year old boy who resembled him so much.

Not a sound.

Thursday morning had been the last time the walls had heard anything close to such a sound. Little Benjamin was following his father out the door as another day of school beckoned. Robert had done the usual: bought the newspapers from the vendor right around their junction, bought the usual Kalyppo and Jack & Jill biscuits from the shop just a few metres away from the school, given his son the usual hug as he let him out of the car and reminded him, “Study hard and don’t get into any trouble!” before driving off.

It was one-thirty when the receptionist at the BUSAQ office in which he worked informed him of an urgent call from the school authorities.

After second break, Benjamin had not returned to his class, and he was nowhere to be found.

Upon arrival at the school’s premises, it took every ounce of self-control in him to not break out into a rage and verbally assault the teaching staff for their negligence. His calm countenance as the headmistress and other teachers walked and talked with him was an absolute betrayal of the boiling cauldron within.

Eventually, the police were called, and they sent out a search party to begin rigorously seeking the whereabouts of the young child. Night came, and there was no clue of where he was.

The next day was an absolute nightmare for Robert. If there was a word stronger than ‘distracted’, it would definitely be a good word to describe his state of mind. Try as he might, he just could not concentrate on the tasks handed out to him for the day. At eleven-thirty, he decided enough was enough. Walking to his boss’ office, he informed him of the unfortunate happenings of the previous day. His boss was not the soft type, but being a father of five children, his skin definitely crawled at the idea of having one of his children missing. Granting him permission to leave, he grabbed Robert’s hands and prayed with him and encouraged him before letting him out of the office.

By evening, most of his friends and other relatives had caught wind of the news, and a plethora of calls came flooding. Some came through with words of encouragement. Some annoying relatives were practically enacting the boy’s ‘funeral’ as they wailed uncontrollably. Robert was obviously ticked off by that, and either told them to shut up or just made use of the reject button.

Nothing got him angrier, though, than the call that came from an acquaintance, whom was known to the guys as T.K. This guy was a rather carefree spirit, loving the life of no responsibility, and that attitude somehow didn’t regard this occurrence as a big deal. Not that it was mandatory for him to feel that way, but calling to say ‘it’s not that big a deal’ and playing the ‘hard guy’ card was nowhere near wise. And Robert did not hesitate in offloading a barrel of fury upon T.K’s ears.

“It’s not a big deal??!! We be tough guys?? My friend, what kind of stupid drivel is this?” he snapped. “You expect me to just behave like nothing is wrong when my only child is nowhere to be found? You want me to pretend as if I don’t care that my little boy is out there, confused and scared? You think I’m more concerned about looking like a hard guy than my baby boy? Such rubbish! Listen, I’m so freaking scared right now! This is my son we’re talking about. I lost the love of my life three years ago, and the last thing I need is this! If you can’t say anything that has a hint of sense in it, then don’t even bother touching your phone with the intent of calling me! Keep your fragile, myopic, dim-witted crap to yourself!”

He tossed the phone aside. He’d delete the guy’s number later. No time for such clowns in his life.

Saturday morning, and there was no desire to take up his usual seating position in the living room while listening to the political discussions of Joy FM. He remained sprawled out on the floor, praying, hoping, despairing and panicking all at the same time.

He was yet to make an absolutely full recovery from the tragic, evocative memories of that tipper truck smashing into the black and yellow Kia taxi that had his wife, Samira, sitting in it right before his eyes. Despite numerous attempts, getting out there and dating was too difficult a task for him. He had given up at a point and decided he would just stay single for the time being. As to whether that would change with time, he didn’t know.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of his phone ringing. In a crazied frenzy, he rushed to the table where it was, and upon seeing the number of the Chief Superintendent, he answered quickly, “Hello? Have you found him? Any good news yet?”

Considering the state of mind he was in, keeping a calm front was not an option. He needed answers ASAP.

The superintendent seemingly wasn’t too surprised by the onslaught of questions. Taking a deep breath, though, was already a signal to the distraught father that whatever was going to be said was not of an affirmative nature.

“Mr. Bart-Plange… not yet. We’re still searching…”

“Still searching??! Then why did you call me? What do you have to tell me?”

“Sir, please, I know you’re anxious and all, but please, calm down,” the superintendent calmly pleaded. “We’re working around the clock to find him. We haven’t given up and there’s absolutely no way we’re doing so. I wanted to assure you that there’s no bad news, and keep praying. We’re moving out of town to the other regions, because at this rate, the abductor may well have moved out of Accra…”

Robert was ready to vent, but the calmness and empathy in the officer’s voice convinced him to hold back the ether on his tongue. He didn’t hear the rest of the statement, but just placed his hand over his forehead and murmured, more to himself than to the superintendent.

“Oh God, please, please, don’t let my son die. I’ve already lost Samira, I don’t know what I would do if I lost Benjy. Please, please bring him home safe.”

The officer sighed over the line. This was no new case to him. He had handled so many of these missing children cases, and each case brought with it the emotions of panic, anxiety and thin hope. He had seen parents reunited with their lost children and felt that beautiful rush of relief pour over him like a pail full of cold water after hard work in the sun. He had seen mothers and fathers inconsolable as they discovered the bodies of their little ones, and the anvil of despondency dropping deep into his bowels. Thirty-two years into the job, and desensitization was not even an option. He still felt the pain when the lost child was found dead, and the joy when they were found alive.

“Sir, there’s not much I can do at the moment, but I think you should get yourself in good company right now. Family and friends that can hold your hand and pray with you through this.”

Silence.

“We’re still working. Rest assured of that. His picture is on social media as well, so that should help our cause even more. I’m confident there will be good news. I’ll talk to you later, Mr. Bart-Plange.” The line went dead.

He placed the phone back on the table. The superintendent was right.

And he knew where to go…

***

“All is well, Robert,” Nana Kyereme said soothingly as he patted him on the back. “I am confident that the God we serve will help the police find Benjamin and bring him back home. This won’t be a negative end.”

He nodded. The tension hadn’t totally subsided, but the superintendent had spoken absolute wisdom when he told him to find himself among people who would hold him up. None could do that better than Nana and Godfred.

He had known them for a short period of time, not long after Samira’s passing, but they had already proven to be friends that stuck closer than brothers. Massive encouragers who knew how to get him to laugh, awesome uncles to the little one… they were God-sent friends. What he loved the most about them was the clear lack of haughtiness and stoic attitude in their character. It was rather unfortunate that most believers he knew tended to be so ‘highly spiritual’, being transparent was Lucifer-esque in their sight. These guys, though, were clearly so heavenly-minded that they were of earthly good. He knew that in meeting up with these brothers, they wouldn’t just leave the situation at some short, religious prayer, but would seek to lift his spirits as much as possible. They had done just that.

“Chale, thank God for the way the police make wild on this case,” Godfred said as he emerged from the kitchen with a steaming mug of coffee for Robert. “If I go be very honest, I no dey trust GH police. After some trend bi I see for Twitter, the stories make I lose vim in them. But I go give them plaudits this time round.”

Robert cracked a slight smile and nodded as he took the mug. He had seen that trend, and some of the stories had been startling.

“Aside that, Benjy’s picture is pretty viral right now,” Nana Kyereme remarked as he looked at his phone. After a little bit of screen-touching, he announced, “1,786 retweets so far. And it looks like people are really talking about it. The news has gone far, ma guy. I’m confident. Wherever he is, he’ll be found.”

“I really pray so. Because it’s bad enough that the memory of my queen Samira’s demise is permanently engraved in my brain. If I lost Benjy too, I’d…” Robert drifted off, too pained at the thought of such an occurrence.

Placing the mug in front of him, Godfred rubbed his shoulders comfortingly. “Easy, Rob. It won’t happen that way. You’ve been afflicted enough; it’s not gonna happen a second time. You’re not gonna lose Benjamin. He will be found. I’m confident about that.”

Part 2 tomorrow!

© Qwamenah 2019