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Every day in class, Ikem only thinks of the forest of fruits; where they can eat to their satisfaction. His teacher now made him a visitor to pain. Giving him strokes of cane each time he failed to answer her questions. Bright Ikem was now turning into a dull pupil with low marks on his test to show for it.

Their passion to visit the forest grew more and more. Immediately after they heard the bell for school ring over in their class, Ikem and Chijioke hurried to the wood. They didn
t call the other boys; they didn’t need them anymore. They didn’t want to share their fruits with anybody. Today they decided to have their fruits to themselves. Quickly, Ikem climbed on top of the big mango tree. As usual Chijioke was picking the fruits. Chijioke heard some noise apart from the little insects and birds. Something like a foot crushing dried leaves. As he turned around, he saw two men behind him. One was wearing a skull cap. He had a little mustache, big eyes, big lips and also a big stomach. They other was a huge, tall man, looking like terror itself. His face looked as though it could kill a man just by looking at it.

Dont run. The huge one said. Chijioke stood still, realizing that these men were dangerous. He trembled in fear.

Did we startle you? I mean him? the fat man stroked his head and chuckled. Those made Ikem look down. He saw the men waiting for him. His parents warning came to his mind immediately. He fearfully climbed down like a trapped goat. The huge one quickly grabbed his collar. The strangers tied them with ropes, and descended on their fruits.

You see, we have been watching you boys.  We are the eyes of the woods, the big stomach man laughed.
Do you know us? the huge one barked, frightening them. They shook their heads and answered, "Na We be kidnappers, Una good for juju (we are kidnappers, you seems good for rituals)." The huge one spoke in Pidgin English. On hearing that, Ikem urinated in his pants. Chijioke nearly fainted.

So this is how we die Ikem thought, looking at his friend.

After devouring their fruits, the big stomach man stood up,
Danga! Put them in the car," he demanded.

Oga mie! Chairman! Chair! Chair! It’s done just my own share of the money, Danga said.
Danga bundled both of them into the boot of the 504 Peugeot car.
Darkness came upon the little lads whilst they lay in silence as the car accelerated towards no where.

My parents warned me, Ikem cried silently.

Chijioke laid like a dead child in the darkness.


Continued ....

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