Vivian never expected that this day would go the way it did. It started like any normal one; she woke up, got all ready, donned her NYSC khakis and set off for the local government HQ where she was posted. Benue was a beautiful place; everywhere was beautiful if you looked at it as Vivian did. She saw just the good in everything, no bad. It had gotten her through life just fine, though it was not exactly the best mindset for the world today.

At work, she met up with her fellow corper, Sammy; a tall guy with a bald head but a full beard. This beard craze had gotten to him, but he wore it well. Vivian rubbed his head as she always did. He hated it, but you couldn't be angry with Vivian. She was fun and activity bottled into one 5ft 5" sack of femininity. Beauty was natural to her. She wore little makeup, but she liked to toy with her hair. Right now, she wore it Afro style with the top half sprayed in a golden colour.

Sammy was the only corper friend she had here at the Local Government HQ. The other guys all wanted her for romance, but not Sammy. Sammy had a fiancée waiting back home and she and Vivian had become good friends after multiple conversations over the phone. Work was boring and the two friends spent most of it as they always did; hidden away and watching action movies. Vivian loved them (Who doesn't?")

Work went like always; their boss almost catching them loafing off several times, but never quite getting them red-handed. They were slackers, but they got their job done and the Local Government only had to put up with them until their time of service was over.

At work's end, the two corpers bid everyone farewell, stepped outside the gate, hailed a taxi and got in. It was from this point that things changed. The car was a jalopy; old and decrepit like most taxis in these parts. The driver was dressed in a singlet and blue jersey shorts. Hanging from his rearview mirror was a Chelsea FC badge.

"Ah, driver, you're a Chelsea fan too?!" Sammy said with excitement.

The driver just laughed but said nothing in reply.

"Man U for life!!" Vivian screamed and slapped Sammy's shoulder playfully. She was not a Manchester United fan and didn't even liked football. She only got into it so she could oppose any side her friend said he liked and have loud fun arguments during live matches.

"Man U nonsense," Sammy said with a hiss.

"Jealousy!!' she teased, pushing him.

A man was by the side of the road, trying to wave the taxi to a halt. The driver didn't seem to notice him, but Vivian did.

"Driver, that guy's stopping you. Carry him na. He might not see another taxi!!"

The driver had already gone past the man, but he reluctantly stopped.

The man hurried forward and opened the door on Sammy's side. Sammy shifted to the middle of the seat and the man got in. The man was quite the specimen and the scent of his perfume just filled the car. He wore a black t-shirt with black jeans and sneakers. He had a big waist-bag around his waist and a nice watch on his left wrist. Clean-shaven, solid muscles, handsome face, low hair, and a friendly smile were the other features this fellow possessed.

"Good evening, sir," Vivian greeted the man. He looked older than her. She was just twenty and Sammy, twenty-three, but this man could be no younger than thirty.

"Evening," the man replied Vivian's greeting. He gave her that friendly smile.

"You no go greet?!" she told Sammy, jabbing his side with her elbow.

"Good evening," he said with a grumble.

"You seem offended that I put you in the middle, but I would rather be next to the beautiful lady there," the man stated.

Vivian laughed and Sammy just frowned.

"Okay, Sammy, let me come to the middle so you can sit by the door?" she offered, but he refused and that just caused all three passengers to laugh.

The night sky was darkening and just after Vivian demanded the third passenger's name and he told her "CHARLES", the taxi suddenly pulled to the side of the road. The front passenger door was opened and a man got in. He had a gun in his right hand and aimed it at the passengers. The driver pulled out another gun and did same as the new entrant.

"Oya, everybody get down!" the driver barked.

Vivian screamed and the man struck her across the head with the butt of the gun.

"I'll shoot you if you try that nonsense again!!" he warned.

Sammy put an arm around his friend and they got down from the vehicle. Charles got down also, keeping his hands up at all times.

The driver and his partner-in-crime rounded up the passengers. They were next to a sparsely wooded forest, at the side of the dirt road they'd been plying before this ordeal began. The men urged them into the forest and though they knew things could only get worse once they were off the road, they had to obey.

"Bonzer, take them to the house, I'll take the car back to Baba!" said the driver to the other fellow after they had gone a few meters into the forest.

"Please, I beg you!" Vivian pleaded.

"Oga, abeg, just take our phones and leave us alone," Sammy added.

"Shut up and keep walking!" was the only reply they got.


Three hours later found Vivian and the men in a small wooden house in the middle of the forest. The place looked rundown from without, but inside, it was lit up and furnished. None would expect a place like this would be out here in the forest. People didn't go camping in Nigeria, thus no need for camp houses, but this one was here and it was being used for sinister purposes.

Vivian and the guys were tied in a small back room with just one door which led out to a larger space furnished for comfort. The back room was void of anything besides a mattress and some sheets. The captives had their hands tied behind their backs and their legs bound at the ankles. Their bags had been taken away and they were searched before being left to themselves. Vivian lay on her side with her head in Sammy's laps and she wept softly. There was a cut on the right side of her forehead; a result of the driver hitting her with the butt of his gun earlier.

The door to the room opened and a different man from the two who had abducted them walked in. He held a phone to his right ear. "Yes, Chief, we have some people; a young lady and two men," he said into the phone.

"Please!" Vivian begged again, but the man just signaled her to stay quiet and left the room, shutting the door behind him.

"I can't believe this is happening to us," Vivian said, weeping softly.

"It's okay," Sammy cooed. He looked at Charles, but the man appeared completely calm.

"Oga, you don't look worried. It's like you're a good Christian and you know you'll go to heaven."

Charles just gave him a cold glance. "Rest, you'll need your strength in the morning." That was all he said.

Sammy was skeptical about such a reply. Was the guy trying to act tough? That was stupid of him. Perhaps he could also be a pastor or juju priest who was going to save them in the end.

Vivian had heard the reply but lacked the strength to do anything but continue her silent weeping.


The next morning, Sammy opened his eyes and he looked down at Vivian. She was still asleep with her head on his lap. Charles was seated across from them, his face as expressionless as last night.

"Rest enough?" he asked.

"I can't rest in captivity."

The door opened and two men walked in. One was the man who'd helped the driver the previous day; the one he'd called "BONZER" and the other was the fellow who'd come in here while on a call.

"How are you people this beautiful morning?" Bonzer asked. The sound of his voice woke Vivian from her sleep.

The lady looked at their captors. "Please," she begged again.
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Both men turned to her and Sammy.

"This one likes begging," Bonzer stated.

Sammy watched the men with hatred in his heart, but his emotions were lightened when he saw Charles bring out his hands from behind him. The man had somehow freed them and he was silently undoing the bonds around his ankles. Once he was free, he began cautiously rising to his feet. Vivian was focused on Bonzer and didn't notice Charles' movement.

Once Charles got on his feet, he grabbed the other captor by the sides of his head and with one sharp twist, snapped his spinal cord. The man fell dead and Bonzer tried to spin around, but Charles kicked him hard in the back of the right knee, bringing him down on one knee.

Vivian and Sammy shifted back and watched as Charles grabbed Bonzer by the hair, pulled his head back and brought his elbow down on the abductor's gullet. Bonzer fell down clutching at his neck and gasping for air.

Charles searched the suffocating man and relieved him of his gun.

"Jesus!" Vivian gasped.

Charles looked at her and Sammy. His face was still without any expression. He had just killed someone and another would be dead by his hands in a few seconds.

"Allow me," said Charles as he stepped up to Sammy.

Vivian shifted away, but Sammy just turned his bound hands to the man as best he could. Charles untied them.

"Untie your friend and stay here. I'm coming back." With those words, Charles crept towards the door. He peeped into the other room and saw no one there. He assessed the space as he stepped into it. There was one bed, a sofa, a TV and a table with four chairs around it.

On the table sat what he'd come out here for; his waist-bag. The contents had been poured out. There were some fat pens, small notepads, a mobile communication device and a small, solid, metal box.

Sammy untied Vivian and she immediately shot to her feet.

"Vivian, he said stay here!" She wasn't paying any attention. The lady got to the door and peeped out. She saw Charles get to the table and pick up one of his fat pens while loading the other items back into the bag. Sammy joined her at the door and the two friends watched Charles.

"Maybe he is a soldier," Sammy whispered.

"This one is not our soldier," Vivian stated, "maybe foreign military."

"Or Nigerian Special Forces," Sammy suggested. Vivian jammed her elbow in his stomach for even saying that.

"Nigerian special forces no be this type. You no see SAS?" she spoke with disgust.

Sammy just frowned and rubbed his sore tummy. "Is that why you hit me?"

Charles suddenly crouched low and the two corpers reflexively did the same. The strange soldier got behind the sofa which had its back to the wall holding the back room door. Vivian and Sammy made to back away from the doorway, but he signaled them to remain there.

"But we're exposed!" Vivian argued under her breath.

"Just shut up and do what he says," Sammy told her in a hushed tone.

"Don't tell me to shut up!" she countered, her voice still low.

The front door opened and the taxi driver from last night walked in. His eyes immediately went to the open door and the corpers crouched in the doorway. He reached behind him.

"Vivian, gun!" Sammy yelled, grabbing her waist and pulling her away from the doorway.

The driver pulled his gun and moved towards the door. He was about going past the sofa when Charles rose up, grabbed his gun hand and twisted the weapon out of it then jammed his right elbow into the man's chest.

The driver staggered backwards and Vivian hurried back to the doorway. She saw Charles let the gun fall on the floor then twist his pen in some manner which caused a small, 5inch blade to rise out from the top. He moved forward and kicked the driver in the chest, sending him back into a wall. He swung the pen-blade at the man's gullet and jumped back immediately as blood gushed out from the cut.

The driver choked on his own blood, trying to stop the bleeding with his hands, but it was useless. He fell at Charles' feet and stopped moving.

Sammy came to the doorway and watched the bloody scene. Charles squatted down and wiped the blade on the dead man's clothes before retracting it and putting the pen into his waist-bag.

"Wait, that pen is a knife?!" asked Sammy.

Vivian slowly emerged from the back room. She cautiously looked out the front door.

"They're all dead," Charles assured her as he rose from squatting. "There are only three plates on the table. The footfalls since last night have only ever been those of three people, no more."

Vivian looked at him now.

"Who are you?" she asked.

"Charles," he replied with a smile.

"Is that your real name?" Sammy asked.

"I cannot answer that question."

"I knew he was Special Forces," the male corper cried.

"Are you Nigerian?" Vivian asked.

"That is classified information, Vivian. You two can just say thank you and be on your way before whoever these people work with come looking for them."

"You will have to show us the way because me I don loss as I dey here so," Sammy admitted.

"We need to move now then." Charles moved towards the front door.

"What about the guns?" Vivian asked.

"They are useless to us and them. Let them be."

The man left the house and the corpers followed. Outside, Vivian stopped and looked back at the house. It was a small structure of wood and cement. It felt surreal looking at it from here. This was supposed to be where her life ended.

Sammy came to her side. "Let's go," he gently turned her around and led her behind Charles. "Imagine if you had not made the driver stop and carry him?" he spoke.

"I don't even want to imagine it," she replied. "I'm just glad we had him."

"We need to move fast!" Charles ordered.

"Oga, we are not soldiers like you jare!" Vivian snapped. "Slow down before you kill us!"

Charles laughed and so did Sammy. Vivian was back; a little shaken, but still that friendly bundle of joy.