The shade of night shrouded the lonely sky and the looming shadows of towering trees cast by the pale moon were almost everywhere. The nocturnal animals had begun their prowl for unsuspecting preys. The merry hoot of owls and chirruping of crickets broke the silence of the night.
I was hurrying home after tuition which had ended way too late. I had to cut through a minute park before I could reach home. It was there that I had a strong feeling of being watched. I stopped for a while and looked all around me. Sweat broke out. The air became stale. Upon seeing nothing unusual, I quickened my steps.
Moments later, I spotted a dark figure emerging from the bushes. It was a masked man who moved towards me swiftly. Panic engulfed me. I swung round and fled. Quite abruptly, another masked man appeared from behind a tree and grabbed me tight with both arms on my neck, nearly crushing my windpipe. The first man came wrapping a wet cloth round my nose. A dreadful pungent smell invaded my nostrils before I passed out.
When I regained consciousness, I found myself tied up and gagged on a chair. I was in the middle of a dimly-lit room with a foul smell. So typical of a criminal’s hideout, I thought, albeit I was desperate for answers.
A tingling sensation ran down my spine as I caught a glimpse of the two masked men. One was tall and skinny while the other was short and fat. I tried to shout through the cloth in my mouth, but I sounded in a whimper.
“Hello!” uttered the short fellow, as he fingered something small, probably a blade. The other man looked bigger than I first saw him. He was on the phone.
“Three o’clock tomorrow! Locker S3 outside the pool. Remember, a million dollars,” he said.
“A million dollars? How on earth are my parents going to get so much money?” I thought, feeling aghast. Then the tall man placed the phone near my face. The fat man removed the cloth in my mouth.
“Say something, James,” the tall man said.
“Dad and Mum? I’m fine, but…”
“He’s safe,” the tall man switched the phone off. I was gagged again. I tried to calm myself down. As I looked around, it dawned on me that there was no way I could free myself. Then, the kidnappers left the room without a word. I could only look up and have a silent prayer. Only God can save me now. I sat there for a long time; only hope kept me going. I drifted into sleep.
I woke up to the sound of a truck outside the room. I heard the two men talking. I was pretty certain that they had collected the million dollars which I had no idea how my parents had managed to raise.
“You may collect your son from North Park at three,” the tall man said clearly outside. At that moment, I was not sure I should feel elated or downcast. The door opened, and in stepped the fat man. I supposed I should look forward to going home, yet I wished the police could apprehend these outlaws soon. It was the least they deserved.