”Walk faster! ” Dian instructed Kinsley who seems to be dragging his feet.

”Hey kids! ” a man in a white suit shirt fancied with a black bow tie matching his plain trousers hollered at them. ”May I have a minute of your time, please? ”

Dian and Kinsley stood frozen on their track as they watched him look around cautiously as he approach.

”Run Kinsley! ” Dian screamed dragging him along by the arm as they flea.

”Hey stop! ” the man called as he ran after them in full speed.

They ran breathlessly down the street with the man hot on their heels.

”Quick, this way! ” Dian instructed as she tugged Kinsley to the left corner of the road which lead to the train station beyond.

”Dian, Im tired. ” Kinsley wheezed. Dian casts him an apologetic look but still did not relent.

Just then, out of the blue a familiar limo bulldozed into the road before them.

”Hop in! ” Ola instruction immediately the door opened.

Dian contemplated as she looked between Ola outstretched arm, Kinsley who seems close to passing out and the stranger who called out to them as he advanced to them hurriedly.

”Get in. ” she said to Kinsley who wasted not even a second to obey.

The limo drove off as soon as they were safely inside with Kinsley exhausted and visibly panting for air.

”Who could that be? ” Ola asked intrigued.

”I don know. ” Dian said breathlessly. ”But he seems suspicious. ”

”Suspicious, how? ”

”I think he was going to kidnap us. ”

I see. ” Ola mused with a raise of his left eyebrow. ”You are safe now. ” He continued wiping his sunglasses with a white handkerchief. ” I will take you to my place to make sure he is not following. When the coast is clear, I will take you to your parents. ”

That smile… Dian thought as she watched Ola grin fondly, Something is not right.

Dad used to wear those smiles when he is not so sure or trying to pull off a white lie. It was vivid that faithful Sunday during one of their vacation in the beach. When Abigail was just relaxing under the umbrella, heavily pregnant to join Dad and Dian as they ran carefree in and out of the beach as if playing tag with the cheerful salty water as it kept lapping energetically against the shore. Abigails occasional warning as she screams e careful at them which they seem to ignore as Dian giggled cheerfully, hand in hand with Dad. Until dad realized he lost Abigails family bracelet, Abigail found out and everything turned ugly. He had promised to buy her an exact replica, which Abigail refused stating that it will never be the same as a family bracelet. Abigail has never been sadder. Well, until she realized that at the mention of the bracelet, she could blackmail dad to do a she please.

”How did you find us? ” Dian couldn help but wonder.

”I was still around the block, apparently on my way home when I saw two helpless kids running and scared to the bone. ”

Averting his gaze, she looked through the tinted window, very much aware of Olas scrutinizing gaze. She watched buildings drift by as silence eloped; even the streets are unbelievably dry. Windows shut as if to emphasize quietly why she should feel more unsettled. The only thing she could hear after the smooth engine of the limo was Kinsleys rhythmic breathing. She could not be so sure if he is sleeping or just gathering his strength.

What will Abigail say?… she thought. True she would not be so pleased right now, if she knew they are riding in a strangers limo. That is soo number one in her not-to-do rules. A small smile creped unto Dians face as she played with her fingers, a little bit intrigued by an old wheelbarrow unceremoniously abandoned in the street with most of the fruits and vegetables, which she assumes the wheelbarrow once contain sampled, squashed and littered around. What will Abigail say?… of curse she will – always like a broken record – say if someone do you a favor, don forget to say…

”Thank you. ” Dian whispered which Ola could have easily missed if he was not paying so much attention.


”Welcome to my glorious abode. ” Ola announced not too enthusiastically as they walked into the specious living room, undoing his tie. ”Ike will take you to the guest room. ” He concluded before disappearing behind a door at the left corner.

”This way please, Miss. ” Ike politely signaled as he led the way ascending a marbled stairs. Dian followed suit, rounding the corner behind the perfectly arranged scarlet sofa to avoid the glass table which delicately held two crystal clear vases at the heart of the living room. The sweet perfume from the jasmines it contains reaching the high ceiling furnished with an over-exaggerated yet exquisite chandelier.

She tried to suppress a groan, adjusting Kinsley who nuzzled peacefully on her back as she ascended the stairs.

”May I help? ” Ike offered, noticing her grimace. He raised his eyebrow, surprised when she shook her head no. ”If you insist, Miss. ” He swiftly opened a door , left hand side at the end of the stair. ”And this is your room, Miss. ” He said gesturing to the room.

The room was unimaginably large that Dian could have sworn she walked into a mini-conference room. She quickly yet delicately laid Kinsley on the king-sized bed, sitting at the edge of the bed as well.

”Dinner will be ready in two hours, Miss. ”

”uhm… Ike. ”

”Yes, Miss. ”

”Please call me Dian. ”

”With pleasure, Miss Dian. ” He said with the same indifference. Dian couldn help but smile at Ikes professionalism. ”Please call my desk with the land line if you need anything. My desk is number six. ” She could have sworn she saw a little upward tug of his lips, which disappeared just as quick before he exited the room, closing the door behind him.

Letting her curiosity wonder, she admired the room. Her gaze skimming through her surroundings. Pausing briefly on the incredibly large oval mirror which sat on an equally large table at the other end of the room. She walked closer to observe out of sheer-curiosity to realize how detailed the design at the edges of the mirror were. She traced her finger on it wondering if it is pure gold from the way it illuminated the light from the gratuitously large lamp hanging from the center ceiling. And oh, her hair.

Have I been looking this silly all day?

”Kinsley.. ” She muttered trying to comb through her tangled locks with her fingers. Abigail wouldn be more disappointed if she see me right now. She couldn help but smile at that.

Dians reflection smiled sadly back at her. It looked nearly strained and painful.

She looked to the floor to find what fell off from her hair.

”Oh, I almost forgot. ” She said to herself as she picked the twig. She twirled it around in her hands as she observed it under the light.

The wand you posses can grant your three great desires. But it demand pure perfection to will it. The mysterious willow had said.

3 great desires…

She sighed, slumping her shoulders even more as she stare at her reflection. She could notice how worn out the thought alone made her feel.

3 great desires… with a wand… ”More like a twig. ” She sighed, tossing the stick on the large table.

She found her way to the master bathroom – thanks to the word boldly written on a small oval disk plastered on the door. The interior is reasonably spacious with a privacy-ignored window taking up almost half of the wall, which she could see through standing under the shower. This point of view overlooks the breathtakingly endless shore, with ships sailing in and out – quite a busy evening. Well, at least there is an almost tinted waterproof nylon to do enough justice to privacy. Emphasis to almost.

She squinted when her eyes stumbled on a urinal next to the water system.

I thought this is only seen in a public toilet. She thought as she turned the shower on.

The bathroom is healthily ventilated, the air clear and smells hygienic, the soap smells like roses and the water is unbearably cold. Right now is that one time you wish for a warm water to heal your aching bones.

A knock came from the door.

”Yes. ” She answered. She walked out of the bathroom with a slightly pink towel, teeth clattering as she opened the door for Ike, dripping water on the floor as she walked behind the dresser to retrieve her clothes.

”Dinner is ready, Miss Dian. ” he monotony said. Avoiding stepping on the droplets of water as he made his way to lay two packages on the large table close to the dresser where Dian hurriedly put on her clothes as her teeth clattered loudly. ”Is there a problem, Miss Dian. ”

”Nothing. Only that the water was super cold. ”

”I will get you a thick sweater then. ”

”What are those? ” she asked as she came out of the dresser bucking her overall.

”These are gifts from Mr. Bamuyiwa. ”

So Mr. Olas last name is Bamuyiwa.

”Oh, but why? ”

”He believes you will be more comfortable with something clean to change into for dinner. ”

She smiled, ”Extend our appreciation to him then. ”

”Of curse, Miss Dian. ” He quickly skimmed his way back out the door.

How formal.

She quickly went to the bed.

”Kinsley, sleepy head. Wake up already. ” She said as she tapped his back lightly. She watched him stir, its unlike Kinsley to sleep in the afternoon. Especially not after running a marathon from a kidnapper. Or could he be that tired? She wondered as she notices him open his eyes slowly. ”How are you lazy bones? ” she giggled.

”I don feel so good. ” he quietly growled with a raspy morning voice.

”Oh come on, bag of bones. ” She rolled her eyes. ”I thought you said you are the one to be giving my sorry ass some survival tips. Now look at you. A simple run and you are worn to a frazzle. ”

”Oh, shut up. ” He lightly tossed a pillow at her. She effortlessly caught it and flung it back at him, making a perfect score square in his face as they laughed loudly.

”Come on get up. I figured you must be hungry. ” Using his hands to pull him to a sitting position at the edge of the bed. ”Dinner is ready. ”

”Owch!, my back. Where are we? ” he asked as he noticed his environment.

”Ola took us in. ”

”What about that girl? ”

”What girl? ”

”The one in the car with us. She look sick. She is so wired, though. Sleeping in a nylon ”

Dian squinted her eyes. ”I was the only girl in the car, Kinsley. ”

”I was calling your attention. Well, until I dozed off. ” He stared at the ceiling. ”Im surprised how quick I was consumed with sleep, even though I was not feeling sleepy before. Something is off. ”

”You must be delirious. And yes, you need to work out more. Indolent slug. ”

”Hay!, not fair. ” They laughed loudly once more.

”Okay, we need to hurry up and change. We must not keep Ola waiting. ” She said as she made her way to get the two packages. She returned to unravel them on the bed next to Kinsley.

The blue package contained a black round-neck long-sleeved shirt and a gray sweat pants which she quickly tossed to Kinsley who cheerfully received them with the white singlet and black boxers it contains.

The pink package – which Dian do not need guess work to realize it belongs to her – contains a vibrant red wide shouldered dress with dark stones which reflects dark red light. Very much detailed and the flares from the silky short dress lavishly styled with 3 shinny dark ribbon that wrapped round the tips horizontally.

She excitedly walked into the dresser to rip off her fairly old overall.

”Kinsley, what happened to your lower back? ” she asked as she walked out of the dresser, noticing the dark swell before Kinsley was able to put on his singlet.

”What? ”

”That. ” She quickly walked to him to identify the proliferation.

”I thought as much. My back hurts. ”

Under close inspection – Though it could easily pass as a mosquito bite – it looks like…

”Kinsley, did Mom take you to the hospital? ”

”No. ”

”Do you remember being injected? ”

”No, why? ”

”I have been injected before when I was young. I still remember how the aftermath looks. It looks just like your inflation. ” Her eyes wide in realization. ”Do you think you were… Do you think that is why… ”

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