Describing Fear (2): The Day I Challenged Usain Bolt’s Record – Funmi Adebayo

The story continues from Describing Fear (1): When A Horror Movie Played Out In My Business

One Beautiful December Morning:

When the gateman wouldn’t show up at his duty post despite several honks as I drove out to work that morning, I concluded he must have gone about his ‘personal business’ as usual. Therefore, I swiftly stood in for him to avoid further delay. This was sometime in December 2012; few weeks after I was robbed at gun point at my Retail Outlet.

As usual on similar occasions, I stepped out of my car to open the gate, drove out, left the car at the sloppy entrance just after the gate, and went back to lock the gate.

I didn’t mind the trouble because I was too eager to face the busy day ahead of me…

I then returned to my car, fastened my seat belt, and turned on the ignition, as I set to embark on my journey to work. I noticed the street was strangely deserted: there was no single soul in view, but I didn’t make anything of that.

However, as I was just about hitting the road, a rickety car pulled over just in front of me, and blocked me in.

Then three hefty men alighted.


And suddenly, it felt like I watching a movie!

I froze.

Who were they?
Why block me in?
What did they want from me?
Would they pull out guns and order me back into the house to rob me?
Were they kidnappers?

A million fearful thoughts and questions rushed through my mind.

Then three hefty men alighted.Slowly.And suddenly, it felt like I watching a movie!I froze.@funmie_adebayo

Then I Did The Unexpected…

However, mentally and psychologically, I wasn’t patient enough to wait for any answers. So, I suddenly found myself dashing down the road as fast as my legs could carry me!

I’m sure I would have won Nigeria an Olympic 100m dash gold medal at that speed – maybe even challenged Usain Bolt’s records, as I literally tore down the street like lightening… It is said that you never know what you are capable of until you are desperate.

Strangely, I cannot explain how I made it out of the car till date! Like the spirit that I truly am, my heart and body must have connived to do the magic without consulting my senses, which were still scanning for answers. But once out of the car, all my faculties realigned.

That was what two recent close range encounters with gunmen had done to me. As it were, I was programmed in my subconscious to not want to see any recurrence…

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So, Thud! Thud!! Thud!!! I tore down the street

Thud! Thud!! Thud!!! their footsteps trailed my every move… and that made me run even faster.

Funnily, I still managed to recall comic Papa Ajasco’s popular mantra despite my dilemma… And I must have even chanted it in my subconscious…

Kidnap me? Oloun maje (God forbid)!… Rear tyre no dey meet front tyre…” and on I raced down the strangely deserted street!

As they gained on me, my body played another fast one as I suddenly found myself veering into the first open gate on sight!

My ‘assailers’ followed suit like missiles!

Luckily for me, I found a hefty middle-aged man in the compound beside his car. He was just about going out.

“What’s up ma’am?” He asked alarmed!

I totally ignored him as I tore past him into the compound, panting for breath.

“Kidnap me? Oloun maje (God forbid)!… Rear tyre no dey meet front tyre…” and on I raced down the strangely deserted street! @funmie_adebayo

Mistaken Identity…

At that point my assailers had to stop. We exchanged quizical looks, and we all felt very stupid.

“Why did you run?” They asked

“Why did you block me in? What do you want from me?” I asked in response.

They then brought out their ID Cards and identified themselves as men of the bla bla bla Security Service from bla bla bla division.

I was livid!

Obviously, it was a case of mistaken identity. Further investigation revealed they were in search of one Mary*: an alleged hardened scammer and 419ner who had duped lots of people to the tune of several millions of naira.

According to them, I had matched Mary’s description, and sources had informed them that she stayed on my street.

Mary had outsmarted them, escaping arrest several times, and they had been determined to pick her up at all cost that particular morning. Hence, they had been hanging around since twilight awaiting her exit.

How ‘smart’ and misinformed they were!

Obviously, Mary had outsmarted them yet again, because as at that time, she had packed out of her apartment, and was comfortably out of the country, as we later discovered …

So, Thud! Thud!! Thud!!! I tore down the streetThud! Thud!! Thud!!! their footsteps trailed my every move… and that made me run even faster. @funmie_adebayo

And there they were breathing down the neck of an innocent citizen who was going about her business early in the morning…

What if it had been a case of gunning Mary down on sight? Hmmmm– I choose to reserve my comments on some costly mistakes of these men from the armed forces who are supposed to be ‘friends’ to the ordinary citizen, as that is not the intention of this piece.

However, considering the misinformation and miscalculations in that particular scenario, you must agree that it was indeed a narrow escape for me.

They apologized for the embarrassment, and being not in the mood for any more brouhaha, coupled with the intervention of neighbours, who had been drawn to the erstwhile deserted scene, I just let it go. And then, what if they had been truly robbers or kidnappers?

In appreciation to God for averting what could have been, I let it go.

An Unwanted ‘Guest’…

I was always bold to a fault before the encounters, but after the close shaves, I discovered, maybe I wasn’t quite as bold as I had thought.

Nevertheless, the quick recurrence of spine-chilling events I experienced that year served to make me more believable and realistic in storytelling, I presume. Or how on earth could I paint perfect pictures of emotions I have never felt?

I have since dealt with fear, by God’s grace; and I am now as bold as a lion – bolder than I ever have been. I know you must be itching to know how I dealt with fear. Well, tell you more about that in subsequent articles.

* not real name.

Credits: Originally published on Funmi Adebayo’s Blog. Featured image Photo by cottonbro from Pexels