The Bloodred Escape: Susan knew that she was not safe yet, but she had to face one threat at a time
By Nhamo Muchagumisa
The knife that killed him had gone through the mouth and the blade had come out through the back of his neck.
He was lying on his back on the leaf littered forest floor and his head rested on the crimson mat made by his blood. Bush flies were feasting on the blood that had spouted through his mouth, nose and neck.
His colleagues who had been thrilled by the sight of his car by the roadside were appalled by the sight of his corpse a few metres away from the old road.
He had phoned them after getting the right victim on board and had told them precisely where they would find him.
Matendere, the great contriver, had suffered a bleeding death.
The two men found it hard to stomach the fact. Matendere, the merciless killer had found no mercy in the end! Yes, his death was a painful loss, yet with people of his trade death was the perfect end.
A dead accomplice was the most useless thing one could think of in the business of human trafficking.
The baby and its mother had successfully escaped.
The mother would probably not survive the trauma that would follow, but at least she had survived the worst.
She knew how sacred human life was, and had never imagined herself terminating another person’s life, but what could she have done? Her body shuddered as she tried to figure out how her husband would receive the news.
There was a sudden dryness in her mouth as she thought about the necessity of reporting the matter to the police.
The image of inquisitive police officers staring unblinkingly at her conveyed a sudden emptiness in her stomach, the kind of emptiness that desired no food at all.
Then there was the press to think about, her name making the headlines for having overcome a potential murderer.
She tried not to think, but her efforts made her think harder of the possible consequences of keeping her silence.
The man whose body lay lifeless behind her had desired to make her death a secret affair, but because she had preserved her life at the cost of his blood she had to come out in the open and confess that she had killed a person.
The forest offered no promise at all
“You are going to do it yourself,” Matendere had said maliciously to her, presenting her with the knife with which Susan would do the job.”You are going to slash your baby’s throat with this knife and then you will be free to go your way.”
Susan did not say anything. She only looked furtively around her. The forest offered no promise at all. She wondered how many people whose lives had ended this way had ever imagined this would ever happen to them. She was absolutely sure that her captor was going to murder her soon after she was through with her own baby.
“Just do it and get done with it, ” said the man who had given her a lift on the highway. “You may delay, but you are still going to do it. Here, take this knife and proceed.”
Susan’s face burnt with venomous anger. She heard the echoes of her protesting voice when the car had veered off the main road. “Where are we going now?” she had asked. “This road will certainly take us nowhere.”
“It will take me somewhere,” Matendere had said, one hand on the steering wheel, the other hand fumbling with the keys of his cellphone. “It may be the end of things for you, but for me it is the beginning.”
Yes that was the end of things, Susan had thought as her body froze in the passenger seat. She cursed herself for not thinking first before boarding the car.
She accused the LORD whom she had worshipped avidly for allowing her life to end in this very painful manner.
With no prospect of a good Samaritan appearing from the blue, Susan had received the weapon with a trembling hand. She dropped to her knees, her baby son in her arms, to carry out her captor’s orders.
The baby looked his mother straight in the eye, trying to figure out what was happening. For a moment her hand was paralysed.
It felt as if it had been cut off from the rest of her body. Matendere enjoyed Susan’s mortal helplessness. The sight of her ashen face filled him with the delight of a merciless terrorist.
Matendere extracted a small gun from his coat pocket and pointed it at Susan. Susan did not even notice the new threat. “Show me exactly how I should do it,” Susan said, blood flowing back into her right hand, her grip firming around the knife’s handle.
Her captor knelt beside her, enjoying how defencless the young mother felt. As he came down his intention was to snatch the knife from her, slit her throat and then cut up her baby. No, he would not use the gun. It would cause unnecessary noise.
Matendere opened his mouth to say something, as his knees hit the ground, but he did not say anything. The pointed end of the knife, Susan held firmly, found its way through his mouth and the blade came out through the back of his neck.
He dropped onto the forest floor, rolled twice, his legs kicking violently at nothing, and finally his body rested on its back, as harmless as a fallen statue.
Susan picked up her baby, who had rolled away from the hold of her left arm and landed safely on the grassy forest flow when she made the knife thrust.
The young woman scrambled to her feet, strapped her baby on her back, feeling the warmth of the bundle of innocence she abundantly treasured and trudged through the forest towards the highway.
She was prudent not to follow the old road because she did not know whom she would meet, remembering that her captor had made some phone calls when he made a turn to take the old road.
Susan knew that she was not safe yet, but she would have to face one threat at a time.
She was finally able to stop entertaining ideas on how she would live with the memory of her blood red escape.
For now what counted most was that her baby was alive and strapped on her back.
Nhamo Muchagumisa is an English Language and Literature teacher, and he writes from Odzi. He writes in his own capacity and can be contacted on +263777460162. Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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