Behind her, Jessica could hear the shuffling of feet, dragging of heavy objects and noises approaching her, a clear indicator that her nasty time in this hell hole had taught her meant it was camera time. A few days ago, the thought of cameras would have thrilled her. It would have meant make up, checking in with the microphone guys, going through notes, another powdering moment, a small skirt adjustment, camera time had meant glamour and style. Not here though. Life had changed so much.
She shuddered as the first slap hit her face, she knew not to struggle. Yet she still did even as they slammed her on a wooden seat and tied her legs to the seat. Minutes later, her mouth in tape and hands behind her, the camera started rolling and the idiots started their broadcast. It always started with that irritating ear-splitting sound that broke into what she knew was the call for worship at the mosque. She wasn’t sure if to pity them or laugh at them but she could always picture them burning in hell when that song played.
This was the third time this was happening. They were calling the country’s officials asking for absurd amounts of money. They would start heckling, threatening to cut a finger or to kill her and then money would be sent. The psychos would laugh, celebrate, pray and they look for something else to ask for.
She was sick and tired of the whole process but today they had gone overboard. They had asked for 500 million Kenya shillings. She had never seen that kind of money at once. She knew the TV station could not pay that, the collateral insurance had been placed at a 100 million. Even if they sold all her belongings she was not sure they would find such kind of money.
They gave the officials three days, three! Failure to which they would kill her and deliver her body to the Embassy part by part.
She knew they would.
The foul man, Shaheed came to her and smiled. “You have three days to live bitch, and I promise you your last day you and I are going to have loads of fun. That will teach you to respect others.”
He carried her by her seat, sniffing her hair as he went and threw her to the isolation room still tied up.
In the span of time that she had been there, Jessica had known the worst of all emotions, she had known anger, pain, fury, guilt, but today she felt pure hopelessness. She had realized that your worth is only as good as the eye of the beholder. For twenty five years she had served her company. She had risked it all, her life, her family, her everything, she had put her life at the forefront to ensure she got the NEWS first. For the longest time, she knew no matter what, the station would come through, that the work she put in would be recognized; she felt she had true friends there, a family, who would pull all strings to save her but as she saw them call number after number using her own phone with no response and NO ONE responded she wondered what kind of life she had lived.
Even her baby girl had not responded. The realization that she was truly and really alone crushed her, it killed her more than the physical abuse, more than the verbal and emotional even more than the sexual abuse; it just killed her. She felt she had no reason to live. None.
She cried silent tears wondering how or where she had gone so wrong as a person. She found herself slowly going back to when life meant something. To Jack, her darling husband, their life before marriage, the wonderful adventures they had had, their first days with Jewel, how completely and fully in love they had been with her and with their lives. She found herself thinking of her sister Kate, how she had practically raised Jewel for her, never once complaining, she thought of their lives as young teenage girls, of their late mum and their strict dad, she thought of her dad again, more tears streaming down, how deep down she knew he loved her even as he had restricted her from doing journalism, he had known of the hustles of being a journalist, yet she had resented him for it, drifted from him because of it and she thought of God. How far she had fallen. She understood now that voice that told her the empty streets were as desolate as her own heart. It really was true.
And she cried, she cried for forgiveness, she was broken beyond anything she could imagine, she begged Him for Strength, for restoration, for hope and for any sign that He even cared. And she waited, she waited for death to come and end her sordid life and take her home.