In the belly of the beast

Fala, was living irony; an internationally renowned photographer whose name meant idiot. He had gone missing on his return home after walking away with an international peace prize in his work in covering the mining cartels in the north of the country. His photography had changed the fate of the locals who were now full beneficiaries of the mineral sales, homes and schools were restored and political big wigs prosecuted serving life sentences and others on death row.

Fala was the darling of  numerous poor in a land of vast impunity. Fala had been missing for a week and there was no clue of where he may have been taken. He had not been abducted at the airport. He had arrived and spent time with family and his fiancé. But on Monday, two days later, he did not show up for a photo shoot which was completely out of character.

His Fiance, Zane had been on the news with running mascara and bug eyed from the endless tears. She looked disheveled. “Bring him home!” was all she ever said at press conferences while being embraced by her future mother in law and sister by her side. No ransom notes or calls,absolute silence.

In neighbouring Yenka, they watched the news wondering what their corrupt neighbor was up to. Loli was an investigative reporter from Lupa and knew from her country’s history Fala could be anywhere by now within Yenka’s wide borders. She opted to give some of her contacts back home in Lupa a call. And true to form someone had seen a gentleman with Fala’s description smuggled across the border to Yenka. The most likely location after just seven days was that Fala would probably be close to the capital now. She knew the local rebels always played by the book covert operations were expensive. It would be cheaper to get Fala to the epicenter of his enemies to get rid of him.

Loli packed her bags and headed north to the capital. The hilly hike would take a number of days with the terrain and the poor transport. As the sunset that day she opted to stay at a flea motel. She was too tired to go further for better accommodation. At around 2am, she was awoken by something heavy being dragged on the floor. She lifted her head then silence fell. She thought she was dreaming. Then she heard the dragging again with a groan. Lights went on in the motel and screaming ensued. Loli froze in her bed when she looked up at the wall and saw the poster of the Lupa smuggling ring logo. She was in their flea hotel.


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