This would be the fourth time I was looking out from my window into the night. The room was dark save for the rays of moonlight that filtered in, illuminating it. It was a quiet night with the chirping of crickets the only sound heard. Swallowing hard, I summoned the courage to finally do this. To escape. Ever since I woke up to this strange town, everything about my life changed. I have waited patiently for this night, the men had partied so hard with drinks that they forgot to stand guard for the night. By the time anyone woke up, I will be very far from here.

Slowly, I lifted up the window, the hinge squeaked loudly. I panicked and let go immediately causing an even louder noise. I crept back to bed immediately. What a failure I was yet again, this wasn even supposed to be hard. Suddenly, flashlight started advancing towards the room I slept in. I shut my eyes tight but my heart kept beating so fast, I would be caught tonight. Oh no. Hugging myself tight with my knees curled up to my stomach and my arms wrapped around my shoulders, I stilled myself. The heavy footsteps I won forget for they have traumatized me from the very first day I saw myself here, stepped into the room. I felt the beam from the flashlight survey the room quickly. Perhaps he was checking who sneaked in or out. Then he stopped as the flashlight stopped on my face. ”Did my fluttering eyes give me away ”, I thought. He advanced towards me and my heart, beat even faster. Then I heard his old rusty voice.

”What were you doing by the window? ”

I stilled, unable to answer nor open my eyes. His voice grew even colder.

”What? ”

As I was about to open my eyes and respond, I heard that tiny sweet voice I couldn miss for she had consoled me and helped me adjust into the new life I found myself in. She was responding, not me. ”How come ” I wondered.

”I was only cold Sir, just like everyone else. The window was open so I had them shut close ”

Not quite believing her story, I felt the beam from the flashlight scan the room yet again.

”You were cold? ”

I felt the flashlight settle on me, this time I knew for sure it was me for she said I looked cold too. Hearing her say that, I raised my knees even higher to my chest and tightened my grasp on my shoulder. After some time, he humphed, stamped his feet and left the room. Only after he had left the room and I couldn feel any bright light did I heave a deep sigh of relief. I opened my eyes to see her staring down at me.

”Oge! For how long are we going to keep having this conversation? ”

”Thank you for saving me Ola but you really didn have to do that. He could have punished you ”

She sighed and came to sit close to me, she looked at me for sometime and smiled.

”Why are you smiling? ” I asked half smiling myself.

Somehow I knew I have always wished for a sister but being here with Ola made me feel like the Universe answers prayers, but in a weird way. After all, we were both prisoners of fate. She was my soul sister and we shared a certain bond that was beyond friendship. We appreciated each other for the hope we shared.

”I remembered the first time you walked into this prison of a hostel, you were scared out of your mind. You could barely talk or even make eye contact. Now look at you having the courage to actually attempt escaping. None of the girls here have ever tried that, not even me ”

My chest tightened, I remembered waking up in a boat in the middle of nowhere with no idea of how I got there. The last thing I remembered was having a heated argument with a man who I couldn make out his face anymore. I woke up to a forgotten identity.

”Whats wrong? ”, her face grew with concern.

My brows furrowed in sadness and tears started to well up in my eyes. She pulled in closer, gently pushing my hair behind my ears, she wiped the tears that flowed. She looked into my eyes and I felt a sense of belonging once again, for in this eyes I knew she shared in my sadness.

”I will help you ”, she said

”You will? ” I asked half laughing with tears still in my eyes.

”Its about time anyway. I mean just two months ago, one of the girls went missing. I heard from a group of girls how they saw an old man come here yesterday and had a meeting with the manager. Few moments later a girl was dragged into his car. The two men shook hands. ”

”What?! ”

”Oge, I think these people are trafficking us ”

My heart beat even faster. It was enough that they meted such cruelty towards us but selling us off illegally without our consent was the height of it. I wondered for what purposes some of us were being sold off for. The thought scared me even more. I pulled her hands and held them with mine.

”We need to escape from here and soon. ”

”We need a good plan ”

We spent the rest of the night deliberating on a perfect plan to escape. I felt bad we didn involve some other girls but Ola said few was safe. She believed we needed to escape successfully first, then go to the police for help. I reluctantly agreed but had little faith that the police were going to help. The system is corrupt.

* * *

Few days later, we agreed on a plan. News spread about the senator who was visiting. The manager took the whole affair seriously and so personal. He believed that the coming of the senator would bring so much fortune to his business and hostel. He made sure everything was perfect. Ola who heard the news first for she worked in the kitchen while I worked with labour and sanitation, told me all about it and thought it a good time for us to escape.

Our hostel wasn like the normal ones, we weren girls who came to study nor to learn. We were simply victims of circumstances who got sold off for money and had to work ourselves out to gain our freedom, some never got their freedom, if not all. I was told the old lady matron who guides us was brought in here when she was a younger woman. Her husband saw her as a curse for she couldn conceive. Nobody really got free from here. Now we were being sold off again to slave away or do whatever the new owner bids. The thought of that unsettled me.

I paced around the room for sometime thinking of what to do when we finally escaped. Ola mentioned I was good with her

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