Takoradi, Ghana – 20:34 PM
“Please …I cannot climb it.” A fair young girl about the fourteen years of age pleaded. The husky thick tall man wielding a rifle in his hand increased the frown on his face.
“If you do not do as I tell you, I will shoot you in the leg.” The man threatened. The place there were was dry. A hand full of sand had clamped itself to the rough cemented floor of the uncompleted building. There was no ceiling to shield them from the scorching sun or the angry rain. The husky man still had his rifle directed towards the young girl.
“Please do not shoot. I will climb it.” The girl pleaded still in tears. She was supposed to climb a septic tank of about 159 meters in height with no support. Truth be told, it was too high for her.
“Ah, you are wasting time, do it already.” The husky ma commanded. Then in fear, the young girl jumped and clutched the opened mouth of the tank. It was not an easy task as the girl dangled at the mouth. It could be seen she was in pain. She could not balance herself. And the fear of being shot in the leg made her not give up. She mustered courage and clutched the opening of the tank with the other hand.
“I got a ladder.” Another man screeched and entered the uncompleted building. The man was dark, a bit plump and did not look acrid like the other man. The dark man upon coming looked at the girl struggling to enter the septic tank and quickly he got livid.
“Chukwu, but I told I was going for a ladder.” The dark man said.
“Yes, I know, but we are behind time. We need to get all three in by 9:00 pm.” Chukwu replied.
“She is suffering can’t you see that.”
“What do I care about her suffering.”
“Really? Do you realize this is not Nigeria, where you do things for many selfish reasons?”
“You Ghanaian are weak, and so pathetic.”
“Watch your tongue old friend. The fact that we are doing this together does not give you the effrontery to speak ill of my country.”
“Is that not the truth?” Chukwu asked snappishly. But the dark man quickly moved to the girl and balanced a ladder beside her. The girl quickly balanced her leg on the ladder and climbed onto the mouth of the tank.
“And this is where you enter the tank,” Chukwu commanded. The girl was still in tears. The dark man was just quite watching. The girl looked at the dark opening of the tank. There was nothing that said it was safe in there.
“I will shoot you by the count of three if you do not jump. One…Two…Three” Chukwu threatened and directed his rifle towards the girl then instinctively the girl launched into the tank. There was a little crash which confirmed the girl was now in.
“I am going to get the other two.” The dark man said. “No way Kofi, I will do that. Obioma gave me that assignment.” Chukwu said and moved away. Kofi stood quiet for some time. Then minutes later, Chukwu came back with two other girls also of similar age like the first girl both tears.
“Stop crying and just do what you are told to do. Your cries just make me madder.” Chukwu intoned in a horrendous tone.
“No, all you need to do is to climb the ladder the enter the tank like your friend who is already in, quick,” Kofi said in a soothing way. “Do it now or I shot you in the leg.” Chukwu threatened and directed his riffle towards the girls.
Then in no time, the girls launched unto the ladder and climbed it reluctantly to the mouth of the tank. The two girls looked down at the darkness. They could not even see their friend who was already in.
“And this is where you jump in,” Chukwu demanded and moved his rifle toward them again. Then in hesitation, the two girls quickly jumped in.
“Mission accomplished,” Chukwu whispered elated. “I guess you are happy now.” Kofi retorted.
“Sometimes you sound like you are not interested in the money.”
“These are innocent lives here Chukwu, have you ever thought about that?”
“If you think you cannot handle it then opt-out. Simple. You Ghanaians are too feeble.”
“Again you are speaking ill of all Ghanaians.”
“I am saying the truth, Nigerian are not like you people. We get things done.” Chukwu intoned vehemently.
“And how is that? Have you forgotten I was the mastermind behind the capturing these girls?” Kofi said. Then at that moment a call came in from Chukwu. Chukwu listened to the call.
“Obioma…” Chukwu said. He listened to the call silently and ended it.
“What is it?” Kofi asked. “Obioma is back. And he wants to see us.” Chukwu said and they both moved away.
For the past seven months, the caption that headlined many Ghanaian newspapers were THREE TADORADI GIRLS MISSING. Or BRING BACK OUR TAKORADI GIRLS. This was the verity of the situation. No lead had been obtained from the three missing girls and many Ghanaian especially the families of theses girl were just thumping in fear and trepidation. What could have possibly happened to these girls? Are they dead or they are still alive? And why would someone abduct these three innocent teen girls? These and many were the questions many Ghanaians were asking.
But in all this, the police and the CID had not been sleeping. The had been doing their thorough and down to earth investigation of the situation. But no factual proof or evidence had been obtained that points to the where about of the girls. Many lived in fear and ambivalence. The nation was mourning over the three missing girls, but will there ever be a savior to salvage these girls? Will the girls ever be found again?
“This is uncharted territories Ama.” A young lady behind a computer said. “I thought we were still going by the code names, Yaa.” A voice spoke.
“Yes, we are. But the situation needed immediate address. The Exergis drone had surprised us all today.” Yaa said.
“At least we know Tom’s programming had been useful,” Ama said still unseen. “Triangulating amplitude wave signals; the drone gave us a combined effect of a diffracted echo of human voices equivalent to 3.4 megahertz of frequency,” Yaa said and typed some keys on her keyboard.
“That is so minimal. Do we need to do a BIOS configuration?”
“I do not think so. At the moment I am zooming in. The drone has the ability to augment its signals and frequencies.”
“So how much time will it need?”
“Estimated, 30 minutes.”
“I will be waiting.”
“Sure Firestone. I think as this time in Kumasi, some venerable women and girls could use your help now.”
“As always. I am on it. Just let me now the outcome of the triangulation Miss Mantle.” Ama said then quickly the connection was severed.
“Oh God, this has to work. This has to.” Yaa prayed and zoomed into work.
Takoradi, Ghana – 20:55 PM
Obioma was fair and plump. He was more of a leader of the operation. Like Chukwu, he was Nigerian and they had been in the business of kidnapping for years. This was not their first time. Business had been good in Nigeria, but after the new president was elected, he had increased countries’ security and that had made things more difficult for them. So they had thought about it and had got a perfect idea. Move to Ghana and continue their sinister deeds. Ghana was a peaceful country. The citizens welcomed everyone and they were certain Ghana was the best place they would be successful with the business of kidnapping. So far business had been good. They had even got a Ghanaian ally who had helped them get many girls for the operation. And this was no different.
“So when am I getting my money?” Kofi asked with a stern face. “Relax Kofi. You have done a great job. Chukwu tells me here.” Obioma said. Obioma was seated behind a table as Kofi also was seated facing him.
“So how much do I get?” Kofi asked. “As we promised GHS 34,000.00 per girl,” Obioma said. Kofi’s stern face quickly altered to elation.
“But before you get your money, I will like to have a word with Chukwu first,” Obioma assured. Chukwu who had been standing beside Kofi moved away with Obioma to have the secret talk. After some minutes both of them returned.
“So everything is set,” Obioma said. “You will just have to sign this document and the money will be transferred to you.” Obioma shoved a document to Kofi. Kofi then took a pen.
“Okay. And if I may ask, what will happen to the girls?” Kofi said and moved to endorse the paper. But in the process of endorsing the document, Chukwu appeared behind him and straddled a thin rope at his neck and pulling it. Chukwu pulled the rope hard around Kofi’s neck. Kofi struggled to free himself.
“What …. are …. you… doing.” Kofi managed to mutter. Obioma in this moment quickly stood to his feet and moved towards Kofi. He then held his head and turned it clockwise. There was a crack. Kofi heard had been snapped. Chukwu then laid him on the floor. Kofi was dead.
“Now we will proceed with whatever we want to do with no aversions,” Obioma said. “I will dispose of the body tonight. “Chukwu said.
“Good. These Ghanaians cannot be trusted. Now it’s left with us two. You an Igbo and me an Uroba.” Obioma said.
“The tank had been closed for the past twenty minutes. Do we need the girls alive?” Chukwu asked.
“On the contrary no, we need them dead. But closing the thank will not expedite their demise. This will.” Obioma said and showed Chukwu a white chemical in its circular container.
“What is that?”
“This is Arsenic(III) Oxide (As2O3). It a powerful reagent that kill rats. But the thing is that, after it kills the rats, it preserved the body of the rats for about 30 days.”
“Meaning it keeps the rat from decaying and smelling.”
“Exactly. And in the same vein, we will need the dead body of the girls fresh and undecayed after they are dead.” Obioma said.
“So what do I have to do?” Chukwu said hesitantly. “We need to make a solution of Arsenic(III) Oxide (As2O3) and pump it slowly into the tank and in no time. The girls will be dead then…”
“And then what?”
“We call out buyers. They want to but their organs and vitals. And that is where we get our money.” Obioma explained. Chukwu smiled at that.
“Amazing. Then I guess we have work to do.” Chukwu said. “Yes. Shall we?” Obioma said and they both moved out.
Takoradi, Ghana – 21:05 PM
Chukwu was almost done making the septic solution. A long narrow tube was now connected to the smaller tank heading for the exit of the big poly tank. Chukwu climbed the poly tank and adjusted the mouth of the tube to the tank. Now all they needed to do was open the tap to the tanks and pump the Arsenic(III) Oxide (As2O3)solution simultaneously. Chukwu climbed down. But he could still hear the cries and scream of the three girls in the tank.
“We are set,” Chukwu muttered. “Great so let’s pump in the tap and the Arsenic(III) Oxide (As2O3).” Obioma gave the green light. Chukwu quickly moved to the tape and opened it up then back came back to the Arsenic(III) Oxide (As2O3) solution and open that too. Now, all that could be heard was the drizzle of the water into the tank the girls were in.
“Anything else?” Chukwu asked. “Nothing more. Now we wait, for the Arsenic(III) Oxide (As2O3) to do its work.” Obioma said. Obioma moved in while Chukwu stayed out keeping watch over the pumping of the solution. Time was fleeting, and the girls were now starting to scream louder. Something sinister was happening to them. But to Chukwu, their plan was actually working.
Inside the tank, the water trickling down the tank was not ordinary tap water. It smelled more pungent and stronger than normal water.
“I cannot breathe.” The fair one said. “This is not ordinary water, Jennifer.” The fat one said. “I feel it itching my skin, Dora.” A dark one said.
“Oh God, what is this? What have they put in the water, Grace?” Dora asked. “I do not know. More water is coming in now. We need to do something or we will all die.” Jennifer said.
“What can we possibly do? Are they trying to kill us by pumping water into the tank?” Dora inquired. No one gave an answer. More tears flowed from their faces.
“What if we spread out?” Grace asked. “And how will that help us?” Jennifer retorted.
“We are going to die. There is nothing we can do.” Dora cried. “Don’t say that Dora. God will make a way.” Jennifer muttered.
“How? Where? In this poly tank, there is no way.” Grace shot back. “Then I guess we have to pray. Let’s bring our hands together and pray.” Jennifer coaxed and the three moved their hands together and started to pray.
With eyes closed, the three girls emptied their hearts and prayed their spirits out. The prospect of death was enough contrition for them to seek God’s favour. Then at that same moment, they heard a loud sound. Something had hit the tank strongly. Then girls quickly ended the prayer. The water was now at their waist level.
Then it happened again. This time they heard someone scream. The scream was familiar.
“Did you hear that?” Jennifer asked the other girls. “Hear what?” Grace retorted. “Quite and listen,” Jennifer muttered.
Outside, Chukwu was reeling after being thrashed to the wall and the tank by an anonymous human with fire all over her body.
“Where are the girls.” The person in the yellow and red costume who was radiating fire asked. “Who are you?” Chukwu asked. The person moved closer.
“I am Firestone. And now where are the girls?” Firestone said and hauled Chukwu with her hand. “Okay…. I will tell you.”
“Very good,” Firestone said. “They are in the inner basement.” Chukwu lied. “Woe betides you if you are not telling the truth.” Firestone quickly moved into the inner section of the uncompleted building clutching the clothes of Chukwu.
Inside was empty. Obioma was nowhere to be found. “Where are they?” Firestone demanded. “There!” Chukwu lied again. Then from nowhere gunshots flicked to the direction of Firestone, she quickly pressed on some keys on her hands that was consolidated into her suit and immediately produced a transparent force field that shielded her from the bullets that were being hurled at her from Obioma.
Obioma continued shooting. Firestone this time had knelt down knocking off all the bullets down. Then as expected Obioma’s the bullets in the rifle were exhausted. Obioma now stood there helpless. He did not know what to do. Then spontaneously he launched towards Firestone,
“You want the girls, then you have to go through me first,” Obioma screamed and before he could remember he had hit had on the ground. Firestone had just shot a fire blast to his right chest. Obioma was now reeling in pain.
“You will pay for this,” Obioma screamed in pain. “You will rather pay for kidnapping innocent girls. Now tell me where are they?” Firestone asked again. But none of them seemed to be ready to speak. Firestone then adjusted her hands ready to fire another dose of fire blast towards both Obioma and Chukwu. Then in fear Chukwu spilled the beans.
“In the septic tank,” Chukwu said. “What!” Firestone blurted out and quickly scurried out. Outside, she moved closer to the tank and used her fire abilities and carved an opening. Then quickly the water that had reached the neck area of the girls all gushed out.
The girl quickly moved out giving off large coughs. Firestone looked on sad. How can humans be so cruel to put a fellow in a septic tank? She wondered. Firestone helped the girls settle down on the ground.
“Are you all alright?” Firestone asked. The girls could not talk. “The police will be here soon. Just relax.” Firestone said. She then pressed a button and place it in her ears.
“Miss Mantle, the girls have been salvage. Where is the police?”
“They are on their way Firestone. Wow, I am so happy to hear that.”
“Yes. Can you imagine they were placed in a septic tank?”
“Really. That is very cruel. And the abductors?”
“They are powerless as we speak. These girls have gone through a lot. They need serious medical attention.”
“Sure I will alert the nearest Medical center in Takoradi.” Miss Mantle said. Firestone quickly turned off her communication device and moved into the inner basement.
Here Chukwu was trying to help Obioma who was reeling in pain. His right chest was oozing so much blood. Firestone moved to their files and documents. After some time rummaging into the stuffs she found something that piqued her interest. Their passports.
“Chukwu Ogbonna. Obioma Ejike. Both of you are Nigerians.” Firestone said. “You will have to explain to the police why you are living here in Ghana with your Nigerian passports and abducting innocent girls.”
Firestone then moved away. Then at that same moment, the siren of the police and ambulance were heard approaching the uncompleted building.
The next big thing had hit the media. The kidnapped girls had been found. But that was not the prosaic nature of the story. Newspapers had the caption like MISSING GIRLS FOUND BY ANONYMOUS SUPERHERO. POLICE AND UNKNOWN CRIME FIGHTER SALVAGE MISSING GIRLS. This was making too many waves already. But in all, there was a thing that was still unknown. Who had been the mastermind of the rescue? Who is the superhero that had rescued the missing girls?
So with no further time to waste and the rumours of the unknown superhero being talks about, Ama and her blood sister had decided to do something.
“Do you think is that right thing to do?” Yaa asked. “Yes, I am 100% certain. With what I saw, Ghanaians need to know what really happened at the rescue.”
“Okay, so everything is set,” Yaa said and adjusted a video recorder to the face of her sister. They were in Ama’s office ready for a video recording.
“And you are ready at One…Two…and Three. Action.” Yaa gave the green light. “My name is Adeline Nana Ama Poku. A professor of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular biology here at KNUST. I am lecturer by day and a superhero called Firestone by night. And I am the one who saved the three innocent girls. But my main reason for coming out is to tell all the people of Ghana the zenith of the cruelty and the evil I was able to avert. I call this The Septic Aversion. The kidnappers had placed these girls in a septic tank and were about to kill them when I intervened. Folks this is very serious and we should not take it so lightly. ”
“There is a notion that I am sure had spread its tentacle into all African countries that Ghanaians are feeble and very hospitable. So we accept and accommodate anything, even if the thing is evil and destroying us. How can we build a country with such snappishness? To all my fellow African brothers and sisters, we are all Africans, and the evil you will not like to perpetrate in your nation should not be the evil you can move to another country and perpetrate. We all rely on each other for help, so how do you expect help from a country you plan besmirching with evil deeds? I will say this was a godly intervention alluding to the fact the I arrived on time and saved the girls from the two crooks who are now in police custody.”
“Let us not confess we are African for diction sake. Let us be each other’s keepers. Thank you.” Ama said and that was the end of the speech. Yaa quickly cut the recording off and stood there amazed.
“Sister, you have blown my mind.” Yaa complemented.
Jacob A. Osae