Chapter 40: The Retour.
When we returned from Church, i threw some tactical questions at Maria to find out if she was confused but she was as clear as a bird. God disappointed me.
Inside our room, she handed me €17000. It was in 500 denominations. I opened my belt hole and stuffed in the notes one after the other. The maximum traveling cash in Europe was about €9999, if the cash gets to €10000, it was subject to declaration at the airport and if one does not defend the purpose of traveling with such big amount, the authorities could seize the money.
After arranging €12,000 carefully on the belt hole, i put the rest inside the wallet.
For the reminder of the night, we played Ludo game. Maria won 20 games against my 3. She thought she was a clever player who knew the winning tricks more than me. If only she knew how my mind was wondering.
While we played the Ludo game, i wondered what would happen if the girls decided to bolt at the last minute. I had a 60% confidence that Ngozi was in the game but as for Fatimah, i didn’t have up to 20%. It was a mistake involving her right from the beginning. I could have planned with Ngozi alone but that would only bring me half satisfaction.
Even when we finished playing the game, it was difficult for me to sleep. The whole thing was going to happen in a few hours. It was unlike me to panic. I didn’t feel such pressure while running with Lisa and Naomi. Sleep eventually took over me and i temporal switched off my brain.
The following morning, i woke up first and went to brush my teeth inside the toilet. Ngozi was already awake. She was watching through their door room when i passed and went into the toilet. She had walked slowly and made a sign indicating that there was some kind of trouble. She didn’t say what it was but common sense told me that it had something to do with Fatimah. As a result, i decided that i won’t allow Fatimah near Maria until we leave the house.
I took a quick bath and positioned myself inside the sitting room. I watched as Fatimah came and went through the parlour numerous times. She had looked at me several times while i browsed through my phone. A quick look at her face twice told her that i was ready to shut her up if she made any silly move. I knew how teenage girls reasoned. Her only hope would be to call Maria. Therefore when Maria went to take her bath, i switched off her phone.
Around 8am, Maria and I walked out of the house and called a taxi to take us to the airport. She was carrying my bag while i followed her with my phones and hers. I played children’s game with her phone while it was on a silent mode. I was waiting for Fatimah to call and she called. Each time she called, i would quickly end the call and continued what i was doing. After numerous calls, she gave up. I stayed with Maria at the airport until the airline announced that it was time to board.
”Baby i want to see you leave the airport before i go in. I am going to miss you so much’ i said.
She wished me Me good luck and left. I watched her enter a taxi and left the airport. I knew that it was only a matter of time before Fatimah called her again. As soon as she the airport, i called Ngozi.
”What is going on there” i asked. She said that Fatimah had refused to go and had been calling Aunty Maria to tell her what we had planned.
”Alright here is what is going to happen. Don’t go to Formia again. Get ready and go to Napoli Central station. From there, buy a ticket to Rome and enter the train. Switch off your phone and put it one 9 minutes past every hour. There are digital clocks all over the train. Stay near one and don’t make any mistake” i said. She said Ok and cut off the line.
I knew that since Fatimah wasn’t going with Ngozi, she would start calling Maria again as soon as Ngozi left. I had dropped Maria’s phone inside her handbag by myself. I believed she would not need it unless someone called or unless she wanted to call someone. It was a 50-50 chance. Since i didn’t want to take much chances, i removed my Italian simcard and put my French Simcard on the phone. Then i dialed Fatimah’s number. It rang five times before she picked up the phone.
As soon as she said ‘Hello’, i hung the call and called again. I did that over and over again on my way out of the airport. The plan was to keep her phone busy so that she won’t be able to call Maria. I eventually forced her to switch off her phone but even after that, i continued dialing her phone. After many minutes of jamming Fatimah’s mobile phone, i arrived at the Napoli Central station. I called Ngozi from there and she said she was also at the station. I told her where to find me and switched off my phone. She located me a few minutes later and showed me the ticket she had purchased.
”Throw the ticket away, we are no longer taking that route. Where is Fatimah, what happened”? i said.
She said she won’t follow us because she doesn’t know me and doesn’t know where i was taking her. She was dragging my handbag with me, so i left it with her and came here” Ngozi said.
”Good, lets check the map and see other routes out of here” i said as i pulled her gently towards a large map pasted on the wall of the train station.
Italy, being a vertically structured country had two major railways from North to South. It was actually three major train lines but two of them met and joined as one in Rome. The Milan-Genoa-Livorno-Follonica-Civitavecchia-ended in Rome while the Milan-Parma-Bologna-Perugia also ended in Roma. They both combined to one and went down to Napoli and down to the extreme southern town of Palmi which was close to Sicily Island.
The other single major lane was along the Adriatic Sea. It started from Napoli and went through Pescara-Ancona-Rimini and joined up again at Bologna and up to Milan. The entire layout was very clear on the map.
Before we finished studying the map, i figured that Fatimah must have contacted Maria one way other other. It was time to start running.