Fifteen Minutes: The Ink Well Prompt #5


Fifteen minutes.

That was how much time the kidnapper had given me. Five of which I had wasted with the police and their ridiculous plans.

Ten minutes.

My six year old daughter had been kidnapped twenty-four hours ago, with her abductors just calling to demand ransome.

"Ten million naira, in cash." The deep baritone of the abductor had said during the call. "Put it in a red bag and stand at the Round-about. One of my boys will take it from you."

"Okay sir." I agreed, "just don't hurt my little girl."

"You have fifteen minutes. A second more, and I'll put a bullet into her skull."

I felt fear slam into my chest like a bulldozer, not the first time since I got news of the kidnap. "I'll do as you say. I'll get you the..."

"Involve the police and she also dies. Fifteen minutes... Tick tock..."

Unknown to the kidnapper, the police were already involved. In fact, they were eavesdropping on the conversation. They had been involved since I called them in panic, despite the kidnapper's warning. Thank God for them, because I had nowhere to get ten million naira from.

"I promise you, your daughter will return home safely." The Inspector said, "we'll get you some marked bills and on your way to the round about, my men will be with you. But undercover. I assure you, it'll be okay."

Getting everything set had cost me five minutes.

And now, nine minutes to go, I walked hurriedly towards the venue. The round about had been specifically picked for its proximity to my residence, and also for the crowd always in that vicinity. It was easy to make a drop unnoticed.

Five minutes.

Swinging the bag over my shoulder, I climbed the round about, looking around frantically as I hoped to see my daughter.

The area was bustling with evening traffic, the sound of horns and music filled the air, vehicles thundered to and fro, trying to race each other. I didn't see anyone.

Three minutes.

"Come on!" I muttered to myself. "Show yourself."

Just then, I saw a young man approaching me, a wary look on his face. He was dressed in rumpled clothes and sandals were unpolished. He crossed the busy road. Then he mounted the roundabout beside me.

"Give me the bag..." The man's gruff voice was cut short as he was tackled from behind, sent flying into the tarred pavement.

I watched in shock as the police cuffed my only link to the kidnapper. To my daughter.

One minute.

"What did you do?" I screamed at them in rage, didn't they know the man's boss could be watching us? I looked around for the Inspector, he was nowhere to be seen.

Thirty seconds.

I didnt know what to do... Before my very eyes, time went on. When the fifteen minutes lapses and the young man doesn't report, my daughter will be dead for sure.

Twenty seconds.

A loud horn sounded as a trailer load of cement barreled past us.

Ten seconds.

"Please!" I prayed to no one in particular.

Five seconds.

"Do something!!!"

Four seconds...




My phone began to ring in my pocket. With shaky fingers, I pulled it out. Without looking at the caller ID, I picked the call.

"I have the money sir. I'm at the spot sir. I'll do whatever you want, just let her go." I rambled like a possessed man.

"It's okay. Your daughter is safe." It was not the kidnapper, but the Inspector. "We have apprehended the kidnapper. Talk to your daughter."

"Daddy..." That was all I heard as my legs folded underneath me and I dropped to my knees weeping softly.

"I want to come home Daddy."

The inspector took the phone from her, "your daughter didn't even know she had been kidnapped. It's someone she knows. Someone you both know."

"What? Who?"

"It will shock you."

And I was shocked.

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