Can I go to pee?” he said in a meek tone, his voice carrying a genuine air of concern over the wellbeing of his bladder. Razif was sitting on a wooden chair facing away from a locked door with his hands tied behind his back, awaiting a response. His sight was set on the floor, with his eyebrows raised in a slightly welcoming manner, as if he were conversing with the floor itself and awaiting its response. A brief pause took place. “No,” spoke an invisible voice from the other side of the door, sharply. “But please, I haven’t gone in over two hours and I drank my entire bottle of water today at school! I really need to go soon or else I’ll end-“ Razif said before being brutishly interrupted by the voice. “Will you shut up right now or else I’ll come back there and have you chopped up!” He barked. Razif went silent. His words had been snatched away from his mouth.

His expression changed to a more fearful one. He tucked his lips into each other and and his eyebrows were now tense. A single drop of sweat dripped down the side of his head while he grew increasingly anxious. Partially, because he genuinely had to empty his bladder, but mainly because the reality of the situation had just seemed to kick in. He felt insignificant upon discovering for himself how little control he had over the situation he found himself in. He had been kidnapped, brought to a dirty, smelly house, bound to a chair and locked up in a stuffy and dusty room with heaps of old furniture in front of him.

In the distance, he heard another voice, not so different from the first one, also coming from behind the locked door “Whats all the noise about ?” It said. “The stupid little boy won’t seem to shut up, keeps asking to go to the bathroom,” came the reply from the first voice. “That doesn’t mean you should be causing a scene like this, people are gonna hear something and call the police on us,” the second voice retorted. “Stop telling me what to do! Why don’t you try keep watch over him and see how the annoying little shit drives you crazy,” argued the first voice. “Fine, I can do a much better job than you anyway,” came the reply. Razif listened closely, with his head turned around facing the door while he could almost imagine the smug look on the face of the second voice’s owner. “Fine, Whatever,” came the reply. “I need a smoke anyway,”. He then heard the sound of footsteps heading off into the distance before the creaking of wooden stairs under some heavy footsteps. Silence followed, as Razif relaxed his muscles while thinking about how he’d ended up in his predicament. He remembered seeing a white van make rounds around his neighborhood all week long on his walk back from school. Somehow, he was the only one who noticed it; or, it could be that the van was only taking note of him. Either way, he thought nothing of it, thinking it was just a van transporting goods to somebody’s house…. while sporting tinted windows. One day, on his usual walk back from school he saw the same white van going on its usual route except this time he noticed it slowing down as it approached him. Before he could form a thought about it, 2 pairs of hands stretched out from inside the van and pulled him into the dark interior. His screams were masked by the thud of the van door sliding back in place. Before he knew it, he was tied up by a bunch of men in masks, with a knife on his neck. Fearing for his life, he complied with his captors. Their instructions were simple: to give them his house phone number and to stay silent.

As he sat in his chair, thinking back of the times he took the freedom to go to the toilet for granted, he heard a phone ring before hearing the voice behind the door again. “Yeah, the boy’s parents agreed to pay us,” Razif now became focused. “Tomorrow, you ride past the rubbish bin, pickup the money bag and leave,” he continued. Razif felt relieved that he was about to taste freedom, but wondered how his parents managed to come up with the money. Before he could think further, he heard a shift in the tone of his captor. “Boss still doesn’t suspect a thing,” he said. “So I’m gonna leave just before you go to pick up the cash, you know where to find me,” the voice whispered into his cellphone. Razif pieced together what he just heard. This man was about to turn against the rest of the gang!  Razif felt so betrayed, almost felt a sense of loyalty to the gang that captured him, because them getting the money ensures his freedom. If this man is to steal that money, there’s no telling if he’ll see the light of day again. He knew he had to do something.

“Are any of you even loyal in this gang of yours?” Razif said. “What do you mean?” “I just heard the other guy basically plan the same thing before you came up here, he’s also gonna steal the money,” Razif lied. “What! you cant be serious ” He exclaimed before he stormed off. This was it. The breakthrough he needed. His eyes raced around the room and found themselves on a wooden sherd that was just within the reach of his tied up hands. He grabbed it and with what little dexterity he had he managed to cut his bonds and release himself. His scrawny limbs moved as fast as they could, with his legs running and hands reaching out for the window. He put his head through the window and paused for a second to see the great depth he’d have to fall should he jump out. Valuing freedom over his legs, he decided to push on. With that, he climbed out the window and escaped.

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