Chapter 63: Face of God.
“She is going to Porte de Clichy Station to meet with me; I am going there too. I told her that i picked up your phone somewhere and she is going to pick it up from me at the station. I am going to the station to meet with her now, you will stay here and wait for me. I will leave my phone here for you, If your number calls it, answer it. If it is another number, ignore it. You understand that after what i am going to tell Aunty Franca this night, you can’t go back to her, you will go to another country and become free” i said and she nodded.
I locked my phone with codes to disable it from making outgoing calls, then i gave it to her, opened the door and locked it from outside.
It took me seven minutes walk to Porte de Clichy station through the back of the hotel, there was a narrow road that led to the station from there.
Aunty Franca was already calling me by the time i got there. I directed her to come to an empty bar near the large ‘M’ sign that signified Metro.
“You, what is this, where is Esther? Not again” Aunty Franca said in quick succession.
“Calm down and sit down. I hope you didn’t come with your thugs this time” i said.
She sat down opposite me and brought out her phone.
“Put the phone back inside your bag or i will disappear in a second” i said.
She dropped the phone back in her bag and said, “Where is Esther?”
“You don’t ask the questions here, i do. You answer them” i said.
“How many other girls do you have here in Paris or Europe in general?” i asked.
She kept quiet.
“I am not recording this, you don’t have to be afraid. This is a genuine question and i need answers. If i don’t get the answers from you, i will not release Esther to you” i said.
“Why do you want to know?” she asked.
“Once again, i ask the questions and you tell me the answers?”.
“How many are they?”
“You have taken all of them. It was just two of them” she said.
“I don’t trust or believe you are telling me the truth. I will find out if you have more. If there is no other one, i will release Esther to you but you will pay a small fee. If there are more, i will send Esther back to Nigeria or USA or London. Naomi is no more in France, she is in school abroad now. I told her to pay your money back when she start good work and she agreed. It will take time but she will pay you. I need you to call off your dogs from hunting me. If anything happens to me, nobody is going to persuade Naomi to pay you up. I don’t care if they torture or kill me, whichever way, they won’t get any money from me” i said.
She kept quiet for a while and asked where Esther was.
“Esther is still here in Paris. She is in one of my apartments and she is locked up there. She is willing to return to you but like i said, i need to find out if you have more girls or not” i said.
She swore that it was only Esther that was left.
“I know that you must be thinking about how to catch and punish me but if i were you, i will just forget about it. Tell Henry and Emeka that if i ever see them near my hotel again, i will make life miserable for them here in Paris” i said and got up.
“I am leaving now, you will stay here for another five minutes before you leave. If you try to follow me, i won’t like it and when I don’t like something, I get rid of it” i said as i walked outside and stopped a cab.
“Take me to Guy Moquet” i said to the cab.
At Guy Moquet, i bought Pizza and took another cab back to the hotel.
“Did you see her?” Esther asked as soon as I opened the hotel room.
“Yes, i met with her and She wants you back but i told her that she will pay before that. The money she will bring will sponsor you out of Paris. You may go to another city first before leaving France. It depends on how things turn out” I said.
It had started making more meaning to Esther that she was already on the run. The issue of Olokun killing her if she run away was still there. I needed to do something fast to make her believe that Olokun had no powers whatsoever. Therefore i said, “We will go to the Church and pray tomorrow”.
She didn’t say a word. It was getting to early hours of the next day when i switched off our phones and slept.
The following day, we took the narrow road at the back of the hotel and came out to the major road. Since a lot of black people knew Esther in that area, i asked her to wear a face cap and pull the peak down to cover her face. We stopped a cab and took it to a small Catholic Church near Charles de Gaulle Etoile.
Inside the Chapel, we knelt down and closed our eyes. As was expected of a Catholic, i started our prayers with ‘In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. After that, we said the Lord’s Prayer and ‘Hail Mary’, then i began to ask God for favour.
“God the Father, we are in your presence today to first of all, ask for your Forgiveness. We have sinned against you with our body and thoughts. We are not worthy to be in your presence but the Bible told us to ask and we shall be given. We are here to ask for you protection against every Marine spirit, every Olokun and every Evil voodoo in any forest be it in Nigeria or other places. We know that you are the Omnipotent God. You know our thoughts and actions even before us. The Merciful God, i know that you will help Esther to become a better person like you did for Lisa, Naomi and Ngozi, Jennifer, Ify and every other girl whose life almost perished in the name of making money. I know you will give me the strength and wisdom to manage the situation like You did in the past. I know you will protect Esther like you protected the Esther in the Bible. She is your daughter and i hand her over to you. As we are about to enter another phase of running away from the bad people, protect and be with us from the beginning to the end. We ask this and hope that you will answer our prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord” i said.
“Amen” Esther said.
I opened my eyes and tapped her on the shoulder.
We walked from the Church to the Arc’ des triomphe tower in Champse Ellysee and stopped a cab.
“Take us to Stade de France” i said.