“Enter at the back of the car”
I walked to the back seat where the girls were seated and sat beside Peace who was scared. I wanted to tell her not to be scared but she didn’t understand Igbo Language. The confidence in my face was enough to tell her that the problem was not about us. I also wanted to make them understand that it was never an option to panic when presented with a problem.
“You students of the University of Technology?” The young Police officer asked me.
What? There was a University of Technology in town.
“Yes Sir” I answered without thinking twice.
If they eventually found out that we lied, i will change my story easily. The bottom line to the whole thing was that the girls were there for asylum; they were going to start their story as soon as their covers were broken. I on the other hand had documents with me. The worst they could do was to send me back to France which wasn’t going to be easy because i still had some days legally to stay in Sweden.
They asked the taxi driver to stop us at the nearest bus stop where we could get a bus to the Lulea University of Technology, then they left us there and drove away. It seemed they had come for the taxi driver; whatever he did wasn’t our business. He looked Indian or Pakistani. It was either drug related, Terrorism or Robbery.
We stood at the bus stop and waited for another taxi. We couldn’t take the bus because we didn’t even know where we were going.
It was nearly 15 minutes before the another cab came. We were already freezing in the severe temperature. Lulea was almost in the artic circle; the origin of winter.
I asked the driver if he knew the asylum camp and he nodded. I opened the door for the girls and closed it when they entered, then i entered the front seat and asked the driver to heat up the vehicle.
He took us to the camp and pointed to a closed gate.
“That Camp for foreign people” He said.
I checked the price meter on the dash and paid him in SEK.
“Carol you people can go now. I will wait here until you go inside and i will stay in town for another hour before i leave” I assured them.
They reluctantly walked out of the car and walked towards the gate. I watched as they got to it and the gate opened before they knocked; someone must have seen them from a camera or something.
They entered the vast compound as the gate closed behind them.
“You can take me to the airport now” I said to the driver.
While in the train coming to Lulea, i had searched with my phone and found that Lulea had an airport that served both local and international flights. They also had leisure boats that transported people to Stockholm. I wasn’t going to sit in a train for over seven hours again while i have enough money for airplane. The evening was fast approaching and i needed to know how Maria had called Adesuwa and what Adesuwa said. She had tried to call when we were in the train but since i didn’t want the girls to hear anything, i didn’t answer the call.
I got to the Lulea airport and bought a ticket to Stockholm airport. The Scandinavian Airlines was leaving in an hour time. I sat down in the departure hall and waited like every other passenger. When the speaker announced that it was time to go, we all stood in line and boarded the Airbus Jetliner.
We arrived in Stockholm- Arlanda Airport around 5pm and walked out of the airport without being checked. There wasn’t immigration control; i figured it was simply because it was a local flight.
I got out of the airport and hired a taxi to take me home. Right inside the cab, I called Maria and told her that i was back in Stockholm and that i was on my way back home.
She was at the sitting room waiting for me when i entered the house. A hug from her signified that she was a bit happier than the past two days.
“How did it go?” She asked as soon as i sat down.
“Didn’t you girls cook anything today?” I asked.
She got up and went to the kitchen.
“Where is Rose?” I shouted behind her.
“I am here brother” The voice said from the other room.
Rose was already in the sitting room before Maria arrived from the kitchen.
She brought white rice and tomato stew.
“Get me my Whisky” I said to Rose.
She went to get the bottle of whisky from the fridge as Maria settled down beside me in the long sofa.
“They are in camp now. The city we went was over seven hours train ride. I had to use flight on my way back. Did you call Adesuwa?” I said as Rose dropped the whisky bottle and a glass cup on the table.
Maria kept quiet until Rose returned to her room before she said, “I called her in the morning and told her that Precious is missing. She has been calling me ever since that morning asking if she has returned; the pressure was too much. She haven’t said that she will come here yet”.
“Very good” I said as i threw a spoonful of rice into my mouth.
“What are we going to do next?” She asked.
“Nothing, we just wait. I hope you have enough credit in your phone because you will call Aunty Joy in a few minutes as well” I said.
“Are we doing the operations at the same time?” She asked.
“Yes, we are doing them simultaneously because the girls are no longer here” i answered and grabbed a small piece of meat from the stew.
When i finished my food, we went into the room where Maria called Aunty Joy.
“Aunty please did you hear from Sharon and Peace?” She asked, the phone was on speakout as instructed by me.
“No, any problem?” Aunty Joy asked.
“I came back here this afternoon and didn’t see them. Their phones are not ringing. I think they may have started coming back to Italy” Maria said.
“No, they can’t because i took the resident permit cards from them. They can’t travel” Aunty Joy said.
“I hope they are not missing because they don’t know anywhere here” Maria said.
Aunty Joy asked about their bags; Maria told her that the bags were both in their room.
Eventually Aunty joy said that we wait for a day and if they were not back by then, we will initiate a search.
She hinted that she could be in Sweden if they were not found. She also cursed the two teenage girls angrily before hanging up.
“Now that we set the ball rolling, it is time to be as careful and clever as ever. This is where you do everything as i say. One mistake from you could blow our covers” I said to Maria as she massaged the hairs on my chest.
“You work for something with all your wisdom, knowledge, and skill, and then you have to leave it all to someone who hasn’t had to work for it; it is useless and it is not right”