Feechi Nwanna 11 months ago
@thepharmwriter 8 min read Write a comment #short-stories

Snippet Saturday: A Search For Sarah

After going off-grid to focus on my internship and write some stories, I've decided to start a mini-series. Over the next few weeks, every Saturday, I'll be posting one chapter of my short story: A SEARCH FOR SARAH. It's the first part of a three-part Nigerian-themed detective mystery story that mildly delves into politics, power, and the chances of a young girl caught up in the middle of it all. I hope you enjoy it, and if you can't wait to get more, the story is up on Okadabooks.

Tick, tock. The sound of the clock blared across the office, waking Chioma from her thirty-minute nap. She opened her eyes and stretched her limbs as she stared at her phone, which read five-fifty p.m. It was almost time to go home, and her lips slowly spread into a smile before she noticed the state of her desk. "You've got to be kidding me," she muttered in annoyance as the scattered pictures of a little girl stared back at her. Her small eyes were beady with tears, as though she wanted to tell Chioma something, but it was impossible to figure out.

The woman sighed and leaned back on her revolving chair as she tried to arrange the mess in front of her, but after a few seconds, she gave up and huffed loudly. Even if she put her desk in order, it would be messy again by the time dinner rolled around. Just then, a petite woman with glasses framing her round face sauntered into the room with a small frown. She looked into Chioma's eyes, and a silent exchange passed between them before the woman's frown became deeper.

"Don't tell me you're staying behind for another night," she started as she reached the only mahogany desk in the large office and began to pack her belongings. "I don't have a choice. This girl needs to be found soon. The DPO is on my neck, and you know how much I hate that." "And so? Chioma, nor go kill yourself o," The woman started to laugh but quickly covered it up with a blank expression as she left her lunch bag and moved towards her co-worker. "But on a more serious note, this is the third time you're staying back this week. It's not healthy for you, and you need to rest. We can work on this tomorrow."

Chioma shook her head and sat up. "Ejiro, you don't understand. This case has been with us for more than two weeks, and we haven't had a single lead." She sighed again and stood up from the chair, feeling a slight muscle pull in the lower region of her back. Another sign of malaria. She knew her late nights and lack of sleep were affecting her, but she couldn't rest knowing that an innocent thirteen-year-old girl was still missing. What if it was her daughter who had been taken from the comforts of her home at midnight? No ransom note, no message, nothing to show why she was taken.

Ejiro pulled her arm twice and shook her head. "Okay, see what we'll do. Let's take this home with us and see how far we can go. I'm not leaving you all alone...not again." Chioma glanced at her best friend of five years, noting the stiff look of determination on her face. She slowly nodded her head and began to shove the pictures into her large handbag as well as the documents she needed to go through again. Immediately she finished, the clock struck six, and Ejiro grinned widely.

"That's our cue. Let's go home!" It almost sounded like her co-detective was too eager to leave, but then she remembered it was Friday. She smiled and shook her head as she walked out of the office with Ejiro behind her. Normally, they would be planning for the next owambe to attend, but every single officer had a mission this weekend. Find Sarah, and bring her kidnappers to justice. As she and Ejiro entered their shared car, she remembered how her unit received a call from one of the top senators in the country reporting a kidnapping. They often got high-profile calls of that caliber, especially during the election season, but this was different. It was a child on the line and not just anyone, but…

"Chioma, did you hear what I said?" Ejiro's hand was frantically hitting her shoulder, and she frowned slightly before shrugging herself away from the girl's reach. "What is it?" "What are we going to eat tonight? I'm very hungry, o, and it's your turn to cook." She looked away from the steering for a second to glance at her friend, using a free hand to push her glasses up. "Or should I cook instead? Let me allow you to rest and focus on the case." Chioma eagerly nodded and smiled at her friend's warm gesture as she turned away to stare out the window. A thump sounded in her chest as she recalled how the DPO instantly summoned her unit after the call and tasked them with finding the senator's last daughter before the elections started. No one said it, but the same thought was apparent in everyone's gaze: the girl was taken to settle scores.

It was the most likely option, but something about it felt wrong to her. For one, the senator was one of the most guarded people in all of Nigeria. The idea that she was kidnapped right in the center of their family home didn't make much sense. Also, her parents were amiable and loved by most people, and this extended to their children. She shrugged at that thought and wrung her hands together, reminding herself that even the best people had enemies. She, herself, was living proof of that fact. Chioma was shaken out of her thoughts when the car began to honk loudly, and she realized they were home. Suddenly, her stomach began to growl, and she groaned as they drove into the estate.

Within seconds, they entered their shared two-bedroom home, and Chioma watched with boredom as her friend went through the usual routine of parking and triple checking all the doors and windows. No matter how hard she convinced Ejiro that they were in a safe environment, the girl couldn't rest till she was three hundred percent sure. After a few minutes, the both of them walked into their house and sighed contentedly. Chioma quickly pulled the pictures out of her bag and arranged them on the center table while her friend huffed and made her way further into the house. "Nawa o. Slow down, na. Won't you at least…," her voice faded away while the head detective buried her mind into the case in front of her. The child's grin floated into her memory, and she nearly screamed in pain. She wouldn't be able to rest until she found her niece.

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