Black Laughter II
Life is but a thin thread,
Spun gently around circumstances,
Which the master holds in his hand
Bobbing it however He pleases.
September 11th, 2001, Manhattan, New York
It had started like any other day…
Enitan woke up with a smile. Yesterday seemed like another life. Just a night and she already felt as if she’d been living in New York all her life. She and Jamie had worked late into the night redoing the flat, she had a new job and Jamie was to start at a new school today. She hoped things would stay perfect, she knew they both needed a break!
“Mummy are you up yet?” Jamie asked in a hushed voice
“Yes dear! Did you sleep well?” Enitan replied as she propped herself up from the bed. The lingering smile on her face was the only evidence that she was in a good mood partly due to her happy thoughts as she searched Jamie’s face a little anxiously for a response to her question.
“Yep! What’s for breakfast?” a smiling Jamie asked as he jumped into his mum’s bed.
“Kellogg’s cornflakes and buttered toast!”
“Can I have some eggs?” Jamie asked eagerly
“That seems to me like a rather big breakfast, hope you are not sharing it with the dog!”
“Mum, we don’t even have a dog! I just thought I should eat well since today’s my first day at school!” Jamie retorted between fits of laughter.
“Oh my, I must be getting old, I must have dreamt we had a dog since there’s no sign of one!”
Enitan continued, pretending to search around for the non-existent dog.
“Mom can I have a dog?”
“No way Jamie! Dogs come with a lot of responsibilities but we will get one some day!”
“That’s my boy, c’mon let’s get ready we’ve gotta big day ahead of us, go get yourself cleaned up O.k.?”
“Right mum!” Jamie replied as he jumped off the bed and bounded down the hallway into the bathroom.
By a quarter of an hour later, they were both dressed and ready to leave. As Enitan closed the door behind them, she had this vague feeling of unease and as she looked around trying to figure out what could be wrong, she felt like she was looking around her home for the last time. She shook her head trying to dispel the thought.
“Mum are you O.K.?” Jamie asked worriedly as he observed his mother’s odd behavior.
“I’m fine really, I just had this bad feeling that I was seeing this apartment for the last time.”
“Maybe you are remembering how we felt when we left our old apartment.” Jamie reasoned.
“Yeah! I’m sure that’s what it is!” Enitan agreed and brightened up instantly.
As she and Jamie walked down the hallway towards the steps she spotted Monica. Beside her was a little boy about Jamie’s age and she guessed that that was her son Mark. The baby was strapped onto Monica and she was holding a big bag and at the same time trying to press the elevator button. She really looked a sight!
“Good morning Monica, it seems you could do with a little help!” Enitan greeted her with a glint of humor in her eyes as she helped her press the elevator button.
“Hello dear! Oh gosh! Thanks, you really are a life saver!” Monica answered gratefully as she entered the elevator. Mark, Jamie and Enitan followed her close by.
“I’m taking Mark to school cause my husband left for work earlier than usual” Monica explained.
“I’m taking Jamie to school too! Maybe we could go together then I wouldn’t need to ask for directions to the principal’s office!” Enitan finished with a grin.
“Fine!” Monica answered smiling.
“Mom is he going to be in my school?” Mark inquired as he tugged at the hem of his mum’s dress to catch her attention.
“Yes dear. Say hello to Jamie, he’s our next door neighbor and this is his mum”
“Hello Jamie” Mark greeted rather shyly
“Hi Mark” Jamie responded with a wide smile. And in that second, a friendship was born!
Monica and Enitan arrived at the Harper’s Community school quite early. Enitan could see the world trade center some blocks away and she made a mental note to visit it with Jamie after school hours.
Enitan could hear the happy sound of playing children from across the street were the building of the school lay. As she waited with the others for the light to change from green to red, her mind wandered again. She was jerked back to reality by Jamie’s sharp tug on her pants.
“Look mummy” he said pointing. As Enitan followed his gaze her eyes alighted on a man who seemed vaguely familiar. Suddenly she remembered…
“No, it can’t be!” Enitan gasped.
“Mum, isn’t that Mr. Sule?” Jamie asked in a worried tone.
At that moment the stranger across the street turned to look at them and a shudder went up Enitan’s spine. She quickly turned away and Jamie taking in all that had just happened remained very quiet.
Monica who had been greeting a friend suddenly noticed the unusual quiet and turned to Enitan. Enitan met Monica’s stare and saw the question in her eyes, then she glanced quickly across the street. He was nowhere to be found. She opened her mouth to speak but Monica would never know what she was going to say for just then there was a loud crash. It sounded like a peal of thunder though much worse. It was followed by the sound of a hundred glasses breaking and as a strong force hit them plummeting them to the ground, Enitan looked up in fright and screamed. Then she passed out.
Enitan woke up with a groan. She had had a horrible nightmare. As she tried to sit up she groaned again and grabbed her ribs. Her mouth was full of salty liquid and as she spat it out she realized with horror that it was blood. Then she heard it again, a loud crashing sound and all of a sudden her senses were alert. It all came flooding back, the loud explosion, the planes crashing into the world trade center, the fall, she looked around at the panic and confusion around her.
“How long had she been lying there?” She could smell smoke and as she took a step forward, someone pushed her out of the way as a large piece of burning debris fell in her path. Everyone was running and just then it hit her. She had not been alone!
“Jamie!!!” she screamed.
“Oh God please let him be safe” she pleaded as tears ran down her cheeks. She searched frantically around her for Jamie. Then she remembered Monica and her son Mark and the baby and all the little children at the school. The school was now just a big cloud of smoke.
She jostled through people running for their lives, desperate to find her son.
“Jamie, Jamie where are you?” she shouted out till her voice was hoarse. She could hear the distant droll of sirens.
“Oh God, what’s happening?” She cried out.
“JAMIE!” she screamed again. Just then she heard it
“Mama” it had been faint but she’d heard it and she ran towards the sound.
“Mama” another faint whisper.
“Jamie where are you?” she could barely call out. The acrid smoke of burning debris had gotten into her nostrils and was stinging both her eyes and nose. With her eyes watering so much she could barely see and had almost been knocked down twice by flying debris but she couldn’t give up now that she was so closed to finding her baby. No she just couldn’t!
“JAMIE!!!” she screamed with a sudden burst of strength.
“Over here mama!” Then she saw him.
“Oh Jamie!” she ran to him and hugged him with all her strength.
“I thought I was never going to see you again!”
“Me too mama!”
“Are you alright?” She asked as she gave him another bear hug and then quickly inspected him for injuries. There was another loud explosion but it sounded much nearer.
“Lady get your son outta here, this place is gonna blow!” a running man warned.
As Enitan helped Jamie off the ground, she saw it, the blood on his jacket.
“Jamie you are hurt!”
“Mum it’s O.K. We have to get out of here, the man said this place is gonna blow!”
“Enitan tried to lift him up and cried out as a stab of pain went through her. She clutched her ribs.
“Mum you are hurt!”
“Jamie it’s O.K. Let’s get out of here.”
As they made it to the main road there was another loud crash and then there was debris flying everywhere.
Enitan could see fire fighters in the distance battling to put out the fire. The twin towers of the world trade center had collapsed and there was chaos everywhere she turned. She could see large chunks of metal all around her and she guessed they had to be the remnants of the plane that had crashed into the trade center. She pulled Jamie’s hand and led him to the nearest ambulance. Just then she saw a mass of red hair huddled in a corner.
“Monica!” she screamed almost hysterically.
Monica looked up, her vision blurry with tears.
“Where are Mark and the baby?”
“Mark’s fine, the ambulance took him…”
“And the baby?”
Monica shook her head and began to cry again. She sobbed loudly and her grief seemed so intense that she couldn’t speak. Enitan held her breath expecting the worst.
“I’ve searched everywhere! The firemen said I should give it up, that she’s gone but that I had to save myself. I can’t leave, supposing she’s still out there, my baby, my poor baby…” she broke down again with heavy sobs.
Enitan pulled Monica into her arms and the two wept together.
“I’ll help you find her! Just let me get Jamie out of here!”
“Mom I’m not leaving you!”
“But Jamie, this place isn’t safe”
“Mom, we’ll find her together. I won’t leave you. NO!”
“Honey you are hurt, you can’t stay”
“Mum, we are all hurt. There’s nothing you can say to make me leave you!”
Enitan looked into her son’s eyes and saw strength. His shoulders were squared up in determination and even though he was hurting, he didn’t wince or show any sign of pain.
“He’s so brave!” she whispered to herself as tears filled her eyes. Jamie gave his mum a tight hug.
“C’mon Monica, Let’s go find your baby!”
Enitan and Monica walked silently on, their eyes and ears alert. There was total chaos as far as the eyes could see. They passed parents frantically calling for their children. Children calling for their mothers and injured people needing help.
“Who could have done this?” Enitan asked as tears filled her eyes again. Jamie’s eyes darted about looking for anything familiar. He was starting to lose hope but he wasn’t going to stop. He was going to find Monica her baby.
Suddenly he spotted a pink shawl under a pile of refuse and screamed.
“Jamie what’s wrong?”
He pointed at the shawl, unable to speak.
“Oh my God!!!” Enitan and Monica screamed out and began to run.
“God please let her be alright!” Enitan prayed silently.
Jamie got there first. He tried to lift the debris but it was too heavy.
With Enitan and Monica’s help, it was removed and under it lay a heap of pink. They all held their breaths.
Enitan gently removed the shawl and under it was the pouch Monica had used to carry her baby. It was turned facing upwards and the baby lay underneath very quiet. Monica lifted her baby into her arms, tears running down her cheek and onto the baby.
“Is she alright?” Jamie asked in a whisper.
Monica was deathly pale as she inspected her baby.
“No! You can’t die. You just can’t die!” Monica screamed and in her frenzy began to shake the baby forcefully. She slapped her soft pink bottom and was rewarded by a soft cry from the baby.
“Yippee! She’s alive!” Jamie shouted and began to hop from foot to foot barely able to contain himself.
Monica cried and laughed at the same time, hugging her baby close to her heart.
“Monica the baby obviously needs medical attention and this place definitely isn’t safe. Let’s get out of here!” Enitan chastised with a smile.
“Mom is the baby going to be alright?” Jamie asked as he looked from his mother to the quiet baby.
“Yes I hope, just as soon as a doctor sees her. It’s a miracle she’s alive!”
There was another loud crash and debris began to fly again. And this time burning rubble. There was a stampede as the few people left made a mad dash for their lives. Enitan held on tight to Jamie as they all fled to safety. They kept on not knowing where they were headed but desperate to escape from the chaos that surrounded them. Eventually, they saw a team of men dressed in white and an array of ambulances, police cars and fire engines and as they were carted away to safety Enitan gave in to the darkness and passed out.
*Toss and turn,
Whirl and twirl,
Life’s great storms,
Our lives, doth stir.
September 14th, 2001. Manhattan, New York.
Enitan opened her eyes and looked around her. She had been in and out of consciousness for the last two days and the faces of the doctors and nurses were but vague images floating around her.
“Jamie” she whispered.
“He’s alright. Glad you’ve finally come to.” Replied the smiling nurse.
“How long have I been here?”
“Two days, it seems like forever doesn’t it?”
“You have no idea!” replied Enitan. Something at the window caught her eye. It was a little bird. Looking at it she smiled and the bird in appreciation for the bright smile, which had been bestowed on it, began to sing sweetly.
“When can I leave?” she asked the busy nurse absently, her attention still being on the bird.
“The doctor says after he’s checked on you today, if there aren’t any problems you are free to go but you’ve gotta take things easy O.k? You were lucky to have survived that incidence, we are all still in shock.”
At the last statement, Enitan’s memories of the last few days came flooding back.
At that moment there was a knock on the door.
“Come in” the nurse answered cheerily.
“Is my mom awake?” Jamie asked uncertainly, peering at the quiet dark figure on the bed.
“JAMIE!” Enitan shouted in delight.
Jamie rushed over to the bedside and hugged his mother tightly.
“I’ve missed you so much Jamie!” Enitan gushed.
“I’ve missed you mama, every time I came to check up on you, you were sleeping.”
“How’s your wound?” Enitan asked, sudden concern written all over her face.
“Fine mum, it was only a small one and the doctor had it bandaged up, see?” Jamie raised up his jersey and showed his mother the fresh crepe bandage.
“That’s good to hear son, how are Monica and the baby?”
“The baby’s fine now, the doctor’s had to do a major operation on her or else she’d have died. Monica’s O.K. too, Mark and his dad took them home yesterday.”
The doctor came in and greeted them with a smile.
“How’s my patient today? Seems she’s finally awake” He said more to Jamie who nodded eagerly than to her the supposed subject.
“Any aches or pains?”
“Good! Seems a little rest did the trick! You can go home whenever you want.”
Home or whatever was left of it she thought, as tears filled her eyes…she hadn’t asked but deep down she knew that she had no home, for the second time in her life, but this was big she thought, as she remembered the twin towers of the world trade center crashing down and all the screams…
“Your mummy still needs to rest, she passed through a lot and you know she isn’t as strong as we men are” the doctor quickly put in, seeing the panic rise in Jamie’s eyes as he noticed the tears streaming down his momma’s face. Ignoring the doc’s words he sought confirmation for himself.
“Mummy? Are you in pain?”
Enitan snapped out of her reverie and noticed the anguish on her little boy’s face.
“Sorry dear, I’m not in pain, I just got a bit emotional, I almost lost you baby, come here and give mama another of those magical hugs of yours”
As Jamie flung his arms round his mum, they both sighed in relief and then burst out laughing.
“Mama I never ever wanna be separated from you ever!” Jamie exclaimed
“No never baby, we are in this together and even though we are broke, probably homeless, bruised and surrounded by chaos we’re tough guys, survivors and we’ll pull through you hear me?”
“Yes mummy, with God on our side, we will”
The doctor cleared his throat, this was getting a tad too emotional for him, he didn’t wanna breakdown, they had all been shocked out of their wits by the airplanes crashing into the world trade center and the news going round was that it was a conspiracy but amidst the smell of death and destruction, he had seen so much hope
“God bless America” he burst out, his voice laden with pent up emotions
“God bless America” Enitan and Jamie echoed.
As Enitan walked home, Jamie’s hand tightly in hers she took in the rubble, the remains and the volunteers all trying to bring a semblance of order back to the once peaceful surroundings. Everyone worked solemnly and there was a sense of great loss. Who would do such a thing Enitan wondered and then a chill ran down her spine.
“Jamie did we really see Mr. Sule just before this happened?”
“Yes mummy, I hate him mama, every time I see him, innocent people die. We should go to the police”
“Good idea son, but first let’s go see if we still have a home”
“Mom have faith besides where else would Monica &her family be?”
Enitan marveled at her child’s innocence and at the same time said a silent prayer.
As they approached the house, Enitan held her breath.
The house was there, its apartments comforting in their familiarity. Enitan gave a whoop of victory.
“You can’t have this one. It’s ours!”
“Yeah momma, we still gotta house yippee!”
As the elevator went up, Enitan thought of checking in on Monica but she had more important things on her mind and making small talk seemed so mundane at that point.
Jamie noticed the silence and felt the gravity of the next step.
“Momma, you know that scrap book I keep that’s got a lot of things”
“Yeah baby” Enitan replied distractedly
“I drew a picture of Mr Sule and Mr Brown said it was actually very good” he said shyly and paused “Maybe the police can look at it and…”
“Oh James, that’s wonderful, I was a bit worried that we would be laughed at”
“Let’s go now mama, before something else goes wrong!”
It wasn’t difficult finding the police department as the police were a conspicuous sight on the roads. Most of the road was sealed off as part of the inconclusive investigations following the explosions. The police station was a beehive of activities and it took a while before anyone took notice of her.
After narrating her story to a group of preoccupied policemen, they burst into laughter.
“Lady, you are overworked, stressed out and a tad paranoid” one of them managed to get out amidst his guffaws.
“It’s true” Jamie piped in, I even have a picture
“He let you take a photo of him? A world class terrorist? Cute!” More laughter ensued and Jamie could see the look of defeat on his momma’s face but refusing to give up continue.
“No I drew a picture of him, here”
One of the policemen snatched it and chortled loudly
“Boys it seems all of the men in Afghan should be arrested immediately”
“Son, these Arabs bloody look alike!’ another chipped in between hiccups of laughter
“Don’t swear in front of my son, mister” Enitan retorted with more vehemence than she should have
“Don’t beat me up woman, I’d suggest you took your boy home and concentrated on giving him a good life”
“Do contact us if you spot him again ma’am remember, the police is your friend!” one of the policemen finished off with a mock salute.
Enitan left in a huff. She held Jamie’s hand tightly. She couldn’t help thinking that if she wasn’t black or a woman, she’d have been taken more seriously.
“Wait Lady, hold on a minute!” Enitan had walked quite a distance when it dawned on her that she was the one being addressed. She spun around, Jamie in tow to see a man looking quite flushed.
“Wow, you walk pretty fast for a lady, had quite a job catching up!”
“Can I help you?” Enitan asked guardedly
“Sorry to bother you, I’m Inspector Jefferson of the New York police department and I couldn’t help overhearing your story at the police station. Those guys were real jerks and I’m sorry, I guess poking fun helps them relieve the tension, they lost some of their best men in this um incident”
“Apology accepted, is that why you came after me, all this way just to apologise? Sweet” Enitan retorted wryly.
“Actually, I wanted to hear your story in detail and ask a few questions if it’s ok with you”
“Can I see some id please?” Jamie asked importantly
“Sure mate, sorry about that, I got distracted by your beautiful mother!”
Jamie wasn’t impressed. Enitan blushed.
“We could discuss this over tea, my house is just around the corner” Enitan offered. He was a handsome man and though it was just business after all the tragedy a male figure seemed strangely comforting.
“Ok ma’am, if it isn’t too much trouble, I am kinda hungry”
Jamie rolled his eyeballs. He didn’t want his mother to get hurt and this stranger was still a stranger. We’ll just have to watch him he thought to himself.
As mama poured the tea, Jamie noticed she had let down her hair. She did look a whole lot prettier but she’d never let down her hair for him. Roger, a boy in his old school had told him about how his mom had married a horrible guy who wouldn’t let him watch television and it had all begun when he’s mum had invited him for dinner and let her hair down, darn was he gonna let this happen. He and mama were a pair and he wanted it to stay that way.
“Three’s a crowd” he muttered.
“Did you say something darling?” his mother asked
“Could have sworn you said something, oh well” Enitan trailed off. Jamie was acting very weird. She’d get to the bottom of this after their guest left.
“So the last time you saw him was just before the world trade center went down?”
“Jamie can I have the picture?”
“My name is James” Jamie replied in a not- so- polite manner as he handed him the sketch
“Jamie! That’s no way to talk to someone older than you. Apologise at once”
“Mom may I be excused?”
“I’m so sorry inspector, my son’s a bit worked up”
“It’s ok ma’am but please call me Pete”
“Only if you’ll call me Enitan pronounced Eh-nee-ton”
“Enitan, never heard a name like that before, where are you from?”
“Washington D.C but my family’s originally from Nigeria”
“My grandmother was South African” he added with a wide grin
“Back to Mr. Sule” Enitan interjected feeling foolish. Had she actually caught herself smiling into this kind stranger’s eyes? She suddenly felt like she was 16 again and in love with Dean Fredman. Dean… how nice of her to remember that almost –jerk just when a cute hunk of a man was leaning on her kitchen table gazing at her like she was something spectacular.
“Earth to Enitan”
Enitan snapped out of her reverie
“We lost you for a moment. So back to Mr. Sule”
Enitan smiled sheepishly
“Is there anything unique about his person that’ll help us fish him out?”
Enitan thought hard.
“I’m not sure but I think he has a mark just below his left eye. First time I noticed it, I asked him if it was a bruise and he nodded but for all the time I knew him, that bruise stayed put”
“Enitan I do hope that’ll help since it’s very likely Mr. Sule isn’t his real name and your son’s drawing very well looks like half the population of the Middle east but a man has been implicated as the brains behind this, an Afghan but it is still top secret”
“Do you think they are the same people?”
“Not necessarily but he may be tied to him in some way, besides from everything you’ve said, he should be brought in for questioning due to his prominent role in the killing of your friends. He’s definitely tied to a terrorist group” He finished matter of factly.
“Are my baby& I safe or will we always have to run especially since we have a knack for picking the same states as that horrible man!” Enitan finished with a sigh
“After all that’s happened, he and his gang will be lying low for a while, let’s just hope since he helped you escape before, he won’t let it slip that he’s seen you”
“I have to go now ma’am, here’s my card, if you see anything suspicious call me, I have already been away too long, the police need all hands on deck as more and more people have reported their loved ones missing plus more people than we can possibly cater for at the moment have turned up homeless, you should thank your God you still have a roof over your head. Good day ma’am and thanks for the tea, those muffins were delicious!”
As Enitan saw Pete out, she thought to call Jamie but decided he hadn’t been too accommodating of the man. The noise in the room had died down almost an hour ago so she guessed he had found something to keep him busy.
Into a deep hole,
Mere man doth plummet,
When in mayhem rests his soul,
The stillness after the storm, veering him back to the summit
20 minutes later…
Enitan kitchen was shining and she leaned back to appreciate her work, even though she was a l’il scatterbrained sometimes she prided herself in losing herself completely into whatever she was doing and more importantly she had learned at a young age to hate dirt.
Jamie had been unusually quiet since he disappeared into the room and she’d been grateful to just lose herself in her thoughts. She had never thought of a man as a necessity till today, the inspector was quite dreamy…
“Stop mooning around like a love struck teenager, what man would wanna be saddled with a ready made family? Wake up” she chastised herself and with a rueful smile decided to check up on Jamie.
“I do have a man in my life see” she said as she walked into his room.
Everything seemed to be in place apart from the cool drought coming in through the open window. Jamie appeared to be sleeping as there was a still figure on the bed covered with blankets.
“Poor dear, all huddled under the blanket at midday instead of just closing the window” she said shaking her head as she closed the window.
Jamie’s toy alarm went off just then and she walked towards it. When he had turned 10, he had insisted on getting an alarm clock to wake him up since he was now his own man.
She chuckled as she walked to the little desk to switch it off, Jamie hardly ever responded to it and she still had t o wake him up in the morning.
As she killed it, a pink paper caught her eye. It was under the alarm and looked like a note. There was a time Jamie would leave little thank you and I love you notes around and they were such a comfort to her, maybe he was just sorry for his unexplained curtness to Pete.
I won’t read it till after I wake him up she thought with a conspirational smile on her face
“Jamie Jam…” As she touched the blanket she froze even as she paused in mid sentence. She felt a sickening feeling in the pits of her stomach as she frantically pulled away the blanket.
“Jamie where are you?” she screamed… and screamed
Her throat was dry and the walls looked like they were closing in on her. A wave of nausea washed over her. Then she remembered the note
Her hands were trembling as she unfolded it. The note was short.
“You have been relieved of your duties”
Her head was spinning. What was this? The note didn’t even say ‘I have your son’ she felt faint and had to steady herself.
“Why Jamie?” she whispered as fat tears rolled down her eyes.
“Why?” she choked down a gut wrenching sob, how could this have happened?
“God why? He’s all I’ve got, how could you let this happen to him, to me?” she cried out in anger.
Enitan must have wept for what seemed to be an eternity before she got a hold of herself.
She walked numbly to the telephone and dialed the number beside it on he coffee table.
It rang and rang.
“This is Pete Jefferson, I am not around at the moment but please leave a message and I’ll be sure to give you a call” Pete’s sunny recording ended with a beep and Enitan felt another wave of nausea.
“Pete this is Enitan. Jamie’s gone…” Enitan broke down unable to continue. She hung up.
As she lay on the floor, her body shaking with sobs she thought she’d go mad, then the fighter in her came out. She had survived all life had thrown her and she had taught Jamie to do the same. She wasn’t gonna crack now, Jamie needed her to be strong. Mr. Sule wasn’t going to have the last laugh.
“God will punish you Mr. Sule and if you lay a finger on my baby…” As the tears rolled down her face she cleaned them defiantly. She would fight to the very end.
She knocked on Monica’s door.
“Hi sweetheart, sorry I haven’t been by to say thank you for helping me find… is everything ok? You look terrible”
“Jamie’s been kidnapped!” Enitan whispered before she broke down again
“Kidnapped, Oh sweet Jesus, when? Have you called the police, oh please come in” Monica was stunned.
“I can’t come in we have to look for him, Monica there’s no time, what if he gets hurt?”
“Do you have any idea who’d do such a thing?”
“I don’t know but…”
“There’s this man who I think has been following me since I left Washington”
“Oh my, who is he?”
“Some guy I used to know, I think he’s wrapped up in something big& since I’m the only one left who recognizes him he’s trying to take Jamie away from me”
“What do you mean by you’re the only one left?” Monica began to shake visibly
” It’s a long story…”
“Oh my God, Enitan what are you saying? You deliberately put my life & the life of my family in danger? How could you?”
“I’m so sorry” Enitan whispered, “It wasn’t my doing but please you’ve gotta help me, Jamie…”
“I’m sorry” Monica choked out, “I have to look out for my family now that you’ve put all of us on death row, please leave Enitan, I wish you all the best we’ll both need it” and with that Monica broke down in tears
“I’m so sorry Monica, so sorry” Enitan whispered again and again, feeling drained
“I wish I had never met you, please leave, NOW!”
As Enitan touched the door handle, she looked back one more time at Monica, the woman she had loved and betrayed in so short a time.
Enitan paused unsure of what to expect.
What she didn’t expect however was Monica’s sudden tight embrace.
“Oh God, what are we to do?”
Enitan was speechless, tears streaming down her ebony face.
“I’ll help you look for Jamie but let me call my husband to take the kids far far away. That leaves the baby, she’ll have to come with us. God! Enitan how about the innocent people living in the other apartments?”
Enitan still couldn’t trust herself to speak. She made an attempt at drying her tears.
“We could warn them but they’d probably panic and draw more attention besides there isn’t much time, Jamie’s been missing for almost an hour besides if these men or man is connected to the recent horror, they’ll wanna lay low for a while since the place is crawling with cops, Enitan we need to pray for a miracle, be strong”
“What made you change your mind Monica?”
“I know what it is to almost lose a child remember? Come we don’t have much time”
Enitan walked quietly behind her, silently grateful she didn’t have to face this trouble alone. In the past Jamie had always been her source of fortitude. Her Jamie, she hoped he was alright wherever he was.
Monica stopped by the pay phone to call her husband and Enitan kept walking. She was trying to pull herself together, to get back her survival instincts but she couldn’t shake off the despair that hung thickly like a cloak around her the same she’d felt so many years ago the night her mother passed away. God help me, I cannot lose Jamie.
“Aw!” Enitan cried out as she hit a tall, dark object.
“So sorry… Enitan, my God, I was so scared you wouldn’t be here, what did you mean by Jamie’s gone?”
“Pete, oh Pete, Jamie’s been kidnapped”
“Slow down and tell me everything”
“…and here’s the note”
“Hi I’m Monica, Enitan’s friend, have we met?”
“I’m Inspector Jefferson of the New York Police Department”
“Oh good the police, I was starting to wonder”
“Enitan my husband says he’ll drop the kids at his mother’s and then come back for me & the baby, he thinks we should leave it to the police but I told him I’d help whatever way I could, he’s worried about the baby.”
“Where do we start from?”
“Let’s ask the security if they saw anything suspicious, common guys I think we’ve wasted enough time, my baby’s life is at stake”
“Are you kidding ma’am, with all the activity going on of course I wasn’t standing here the whole time, gimme a break geez!”
“Young man, her child is missing, is that all you can say?” Monica asked scathingly.
“Sorry, I’m being insensitive”
“Please think back to the last hour, was there anything, anything at all that struck you as odd?” Pete asked determined to jog the nitwit’s brain if it was the last thing he did.
“ Well…there was a police vehicle on the street” he paused.
“What’s so special about that considering the place is full of cops”
“Wait Monica, let him continue”
“The place is crawling with cops ma’am but not this street since we weren’t hit. Since the incidence there’s been only one cop around, the same one who’s always patrolled this area though he’s been around less frequently since the crash”
“Anything else?” Pete was getting slightly impatient but his instincts told him to keep pressing for information.
Enitan had remained quiet since her first question to the obnoxious guard lest she over-react.
“The cop’s car was parked across the road for a few minutes and then I got a call from my mom and went in to answer it, when I returned he was gone”
“Can you describe the man?”
“He had on dark glasses but he was of medium height, Caucasian and well built”
“Does that description match anyone you know?” Pete asked, turning to Enitan.
She shook her head.
“Thank you, if you remember anything else please call this number. Enitan I’ll run a check on any missing police vehicles in the area and find out who was assigned to patrol this area today, let’s go”
….To Be Continued