Ansa…The Return

21 Mar

CHAPTER FOUR

The atmosphere was charged enough to ignite a fire. Ansa’s last three years played back in his mind as he tried to take in the near disaster that would have become his mother.

The three men held their breath until they could no longer hear any sound from the retreating men. Osei’s ‘performance’ rendered them speechless even after it was obvious Kofi’s party were long gone.

At length Mensah broke the silence.

‘That was an impressive performance.’

‘What if he had taken you up on your offer?’ Akan asked in a voice that was a mixture of fear and awe.

‘His sister is missing, he could never have taken up the offer,’ Osei answered without emotion.

‘And keeping silent about the shack would arouse suspicion…impressive,’ Mensah reiterated.

Kwame who had been quiet now asked, ‘The point now is…what do we do?’

‘Stick to the original plan,’ Osei answered and turning to face them he added, ‘We leave at the first light of dawn. If they turn around to check on us and find we have moved, then it would surely arouse suspicion.’

No one dared argue that. The singular performance Osei had just put up had automatically earned him the position of group leader. Even Mensah could not help but acknowledge that, Osei was not just the most ruthless man he had ever met, he had guts.

At first light the men roused their captives and they proceeded to Akropong. They made it to Akropong by midnight and Osei ordered Ansa’s blindfolds removed. He knew the distance they had covered from home was far enough for Ansa not to retrace his way home if he escaped, which was virtually impossible, and besides he did not want to risk presenting a blind captive.

‘It has been two days but I am sure it would seem like a week to a blind folded man’, Osei pointed out.

Mensah nodded to that. ‘We should also give them a drink of water; they must be exhausted from the trek.’

Osei agreed to that and so water was forced down their throat after their gag had been removed.

After a while Akan whispered something to Mensah and Mensah nodded.

Mensah now came over to Osei and said, ‘We have to come to where we left our main cargo.’

‘You still believe you would find them intact?’ Osei asked.

‘Well, the fittest always survives and we need the fittest don’t we?’ Mensah answered.

‘I expect our contact from Wassaw tonight,’ Osei informed him. ‘He would arrange our passage over the Prah.’

‘Maybe we should wait till dawn to decide which option to explore’, Mensah strongly suggested. Osei said nothing. ‘We shall be back in no time; the place is not too far from here.’

Osei watched Mensah and Akan leave. Kwame came over to him and asked pointedly, ‘What do you think about our mutual friend?’

Osei smiled a smile that looked more like a grimace. ‘He is so very DEAR to me you know?’

‘Dear to you?’ Kwame asked uncomprehendingly.

‘Too expensive to me,’ Osei clarified.

‘What do we do?’

Osei turned to Kwame, ‘Pretend all is well until we finish this transaction.’

‘You clever fox!’ Kwame sniggered.

‘Yes. I am clever and I am THE fox,’ Osei stated, a mean expression on his face.

              *                  *                  *

By dawn Osei instructed Kwame to replace Ansa’s blindfolds. Kwame was in a much lighter mood this morning. He knew that his boss Osei was going to outwit Mensah and Akan. Though he didn’t know how, the mere knowledge gave him a lot of leverage over Akan who was always striving to outdo him in everything.

‘Get them ready for we leave immediately they arrive,’ Osei stated.

As soon as he had said that, Mensah and Akan arrived bringing along with them an additional eight captives.

‘How did it go last night?’ Mensah asked clearly worried. ‘Did your contact make it?’

‘Yes, he did. You sound agitated. Is there a problem?’

‘No, not really,’ Mensah tried to assure him. ‘I am simply being superstitious. I had this weird dream where I did not make it back home. Left me quite apprehensive.’ He laughed nervously. ‘Don’t worry, don’t pay me any attention.’

‘You and your superstition,’ Osei stated shaking his head in disapproval.

‘I told you not to pay me any attention,’ Mensah tried to placate him.

‘We have to move, we don’t want to keep the steam boat waiting.’

‘Your contact showed up then?’ Mensah asked again.

‘He did,’ Osei replied. ‘We should be at Wassaw tonight. I have already sent a message to Kofi Obutu. He is the one that would buy the merchandise.’

‘That is a good arrangement,’ Mensah observed. ‘Let’s hope they get shipped off to Elmina on time, so he does not incur losses.’

‘Ah! No way!’ Osei disagreed. ‘He already has a buyer.’

*                           *                           *

They were done with the business of selling the captives to Kofi Obutu by the next afternoon. Kofi had paid handsomely for Ansa and the girl, who though they looked haggard and unkempt still had some grace left them.

Kofi had assured Osei that he would make sure Ansa never returned.

Osei and his men had a good meal at the market place at Wassaw. The sales had been good and they had money to play around.

‘I have to get back to Nana as quickly as possible,’ Osei mentioned as he rinsed his mouth with the local gin.

‘Have you come up with a plausible explanation for her?’ Mensah asked him.

‘But you should trust me on that,’ Osei answered feigning offence.

Mensah laughed a hearty laugh. ‘No offence intended my friend. I am just being curious.’

‘There is an adage about the curious fellow,’ Osei told him pointedly.

‘Don’t look my way,’ Mensah said. ‘I have some unfinished business at Akropong. We shall all leave when you are ready.’

‘No problem with that,’ answered Osei as he held up his cup in mock salute.

Mensah and Akan took their leave for their lodging place. It was apparent that Osei wanted to consume more booze and Mensah wanted to arrive Akropong in sane mind and body. He had not been able to shake off the odd feeling he had been having since he had that dream two nights ago.

‘Are you all right?’ Akan asked Mensah.

‘Do you think Osei would do me in?’ Mensah asked.

‘I would not turn my back on him if I were you,’ Akan replied.

‘I know you have never really liked him,’ Mensah pointed out.

‘And for good reason too,’ Akan insisted. ‘Any man who can pull off the kind of tricks this man pulls off should be feared.’

‘I agree,’ Mensah said.

 

*                      *                           *

 

Osei watched Mensah and Akan leave. ‘Mensah must not make it to Akropong,’ he told Kwame.

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