A few minutes after Mike had left with Sylvester and Hassan was not yet back. She stood up and decided to go in search of him. But where would she go? She tried to picture the map in her mind and she could see somethings that she believed were right, provided her mind was not playing tricks on her. She remembered there was an inner chamber within the house which according to the map leads to the underground.
She held her gun real tight and walked towards the end of the living room where a door which everyone of them believed led to the kitchen but according to the map, leads to the inner chamber.
She pushed the door opened and dry blood on the tiled floor. The blood seemed to belong to an animal, maybe a man since no animal lived in the house. The blood formed trail on the floor and she made no mistake, she followed the trail until she got to the opening to a staircase. But the blood doesn’t belong to Hassan. The blood is dried and almost turning black, so its impossible for the blood to belong to Hassan because its not up to an hour that he left.
She removed a torch from her back pocket and pointed it at where the stairs led to. She could see another torchlight shinning just at the landing of the steps. She knew at once that something is wrong. Hassan left with a torch light too and the torchlight looked exactly like her own, only the colours were different. There was an inscription on her own bearing the name of the Nigerian Army but as a result of the distance, she couldn’t see what was inscribed on the torchlight lying on the floor.
She wanted to go back and call for help but thought against it. Unless everything begins to work against her, she won’t inform her colleagues. She mumured some words of prayer, then she put her left leg on the step and decended the stairs carefully pointing her torchlight to every nook and cranny of the small room. Then her eyes saw it, a big cylinder covered the ground and there seemed to be a lock attached to it from beneathe the earth surface. She wanted to scream for joy immediately she discovered the underground but the thought of alerting the others kept her mouth shut.
Her eyes travelled to the end of the room, then she saw it, Hassan was sprawled to the ground, lifeless and cold. There were no traces of blood gushing out of him, neither was there a trace of gunshot. The map stood on the floor beside him. She landed at the base of the stairs and proceeded to walk towards Hassan to check if he was still breadthing and to get the map off him. The moment she stepped on the cylindrical lid covering the floor, a sensation surged run through her and she was smashed against the stair case. She screamed painfully. It was a near death experience, then the realisation hit her, she has been electrocuted. This certainly was what killed Hassan. Maybe he was a bit unlucky as he was smashed against the wall, maybe he hit his head on the tiled wall.
She tried standing up, but couldn’t feel her legs. She had hit her back on the pointed edge of the staircase. Then she head footsteps approaching. The person was trying to locate where the scream had come from. She just hoped it wasn’t Sylvester, because he would be quick to accuse her of working for the terrorists. Either of Mike and Clement would be understanding, but the former is unpredictable.
“Who is there?” The person had finally located the staircase but was scared of coming down.
Benson drove into the compound just when his phone beeped. A new message. He hurriedly clicked on the ‘open message’ icon and got the shocker of his life. The message reads; “Transfer a sum of three million naira in the account details after this cut.” He scrolled down and saw the transfer details.
“Who could this be?” He asked fearing the worst. His wife was already approaching him for a welcome hug. Just then another message flew in. He opened it, hoping to see the reason for the requested transaction. He was shocked to the marrow when he saw another picture of him half unclad sleeping and international model, Sandra Oselu lying on his chest, half unclad too. Beads of sweat began to form on his forehead. His wife stopped immediately she saw the change in his countenance.
“Aren’t you happy to be home?” She asked eyeing him.
“Its not that. I forgot a case file at the office. I need to go pick it up now.” He said igniting the car engine.
“You could tell your secretary to keep them for you or bring it home. Don’t stress yourself.” His wife said, concern written all over her face.
“I need to go over it all night. I am defending it tomorrow” He said.
“But I thought you said you have no case to defend tomorrow. Why the change?” She asked.
“Change in schedule.” He said tapping the honk thrice. The gateman opened the gate and he drove off without another word to his wife.
Clement descended the stairs immediately he heard Ngozi’s sob.
“What’s wrong with you?” He asked trying to lift her up. Ngozi couldn’t speak, she was just sobbing as the pain in her back region increased. “Did you fall down?” Clement asked groaning as he lifted her unto his two hands and proceeded upstairs. He proceeded to the living room running and assuring her she’ll be fine.
“Someone should open this door.” He shouted kicking the front door from within. He could only open the door if his hands were free, and there was no way he could put her down, she’ll experience the pains some more. Her weight was another reason why he was shouting. A soldier came around and opened the door for him.
“Get the gate.” He said to no one in particular. And by the time he reached the pedestrian gate, it was opened already. Mike quickly ran to meet him and they both succeeded in dropping Ngozi at the backseat where Mike sat putting her head on his laps.
“Lets get out of here Sly.” Clement said settling down on the passenger seat. Sylvester chosed that time to ask Leuitenant James another question. And the later took his time replying the question.
“Man, don’t let me open this door.” Mike threatened but it did little to frighten Sylvester. Mike seeing threats wouldn’t work opened the door and walked up to them.
“James, if you’ll excuse him, he has to go.” Mike said holding Sylvester’s hand and walking him to the car. James was surprised a junior officer such as Mike could be so bold to call him by his name without adding his title.
Sylvester drove off angrily. He was angry because, he seemed to have been overpowered by Mike. Every little thing, he was always being bullied.
“Sorry dear. You’ll be fine.” Clement said as Sylvester pulled up at St Batthaihas private hospital.
“What’s wrong with her?” Sylvester spoke for the first time.
“Its written on the dashboard. Why not check it out.” Clement replied as he got down and assisted Mike in carrying Ngozi into the hospital.
“See how they are looking at me. Have you forgotten what you are employed to do?” Mike screamed at a group of nurses who were seated behind the counter. At once, three out of four sprang up as if they were waiting for someone to criticise them. Ngozi was stretchered into a ward very close to the reception.
“I have a doctor friend here. Let me go and see him. You can talk to the nurse.” Clement whispered to Mike as he walked towards the staircase. Mike approached the counter his hands inside his pocket.
“But seriously, Aunty nurse, you are full of yourself. If you were the only one sitting here when a patient was brought in, will you sit down and not do a thing?” Mike said.
“And thank God I wasn’t the only one here.” The nurse replied rudely.
“B!tch.” He muttered. “What are the neccessary things to do?” He asked.
“Purchase admission card, one thousand naira. And you deposit.” She replied.
“Deposit wetin? You are yet to tell us how much the bill is and you are talking about deposit. For your information, she is a police and if taken to the government hospital it will be free of charge. But we decided to try your hospital because the government hospital may be too far.” Mike said flashing his ID card. He gave her a single monetery note of one thousand naira. “We’ll pay up once the bill is ready.” He said.
“Okay sir.” She replied respectfully for the first time. Footsteps could be heard descending the staircase.
“Don’t worry Mr Clement, she’l be fine.” Doctor Rapheal assured.
“I trust you.” Clement said. Just then the telephone on the counter rang. The nurse picked the call and after a few seconds, she hung up.
“Sir, I learnt there is a man outside fighting with the security man. He parked his car in the wrong place.” The nurse said to Rapheal. At once, Mike and Clement knew the man in question was Sylvester because he parked the car in the area reserved for Ambulances.
“Oh! The man? He is our driver. I’ll talk to him.” Mike said.
“Problem solved.” Rapheal said shaking hands with Clement and Mike. “My regards to Rachel.” Rapheal said to their retreating figure.
“Definitely.” Clement replied.
Darasimi was almost sleeping off when Dolapo walked into the room shouting. Tola ran out of the store turned kitchen to know what the noise was all about.
“What’s the matter?” Darasimi asked as Tola walked into the room and leaned on the wall.
“My exam on Tuesday has been postponed.” She said happily.
“I swear to God. You are mad.” Tolani said and walked away. This same Dolapo received the news of the forthcoming exam with total indifference like she does not care, like she wasn’t afraid. So why is she happy to see the exam called off?
“So when are you writing it?” Darasimi asked.
“Friday.” She replied.
“Meaning, you’ll write three papers on Friday. How do you intend to do that?” Darasimi asked.
“Help me ask her o.” Tolani said from the kitchen. “My second paper ends 2pm and the third paper starts by 2:30pm. I’ll finish before two o’clock and rush down for my second last paper.” She replied.
“Well thought. You know, you can even call Stephanie to come and pick you up. Or what do you thin?”
“Thank you jare my friend. I’ll do just that.”
“But my friend, what if your second paper take you by surprise and you find it difficult and time consuming. How will you do it? I mean, you want to finish the exam before two o’clock, and we both know some exams can make you use extra time.” Tolani said walking into the room with two plates of rice. She dropped one before Darasimi and the other on her own bed.
“Abeg forget about my exams. Where is my food?” Dolapo asked.
“I wasn’t expecting you now. So I didn’t prepare your own food.” Tola replied.
“You must be joking.” Dolapo said laughing.
“I don’t joke on Fridays.” Tola said emphatically.
“Are you serious?” Dolapo asked. Tola nodded her head affirmatively with seriousness written all over her face.
“You can come and have mine, I’ll get something else to eat outside.” Darasimi volunteered.
“No, you can eat.” she walked out of the room towards the kitchen to confirm her fears.
“Tola you dey mad o.” She shouted from the kitchen. Tolani bursted into laughter.
“Did you prepare her own?” Darasimi asked.
“You should trust me now. She is my kid sister, so I have to take care of her.” Tolani replied.
“When it comes to food, you are the eldest, but believe me, you beg me today.” Dolapo said as she walked into the room with a plate of rice and a pack of fruit juice and two glass cups.
“Where did you see this?” Tola asked, smile disappearing from her face. Dolapo ignored her as she filled the two glass cups and gave one to Darasimi and she took one herself.
“Am not gonna carry last. Let me get my own cup.” Tola said dashing out of the room.
“And you’ll be taken by surprise because your glass will only be filled with water.” She still felt the urge to tell her friend about the letter she received in the lecture hall a few hours ago, but she wasn’t sure and doesn’t seem to trust Darsimi.
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Lunch has been going on smoothly even though Sandra was trying hard to contain her anger. She still managed to engage her cousin’s girlfriend in conversation. Frank was all smiles as she watched the two ladies talk about fashion and other things that he considered as boring, but for the sake of the present situation, he had to play along.
“You two will really fit as sisters.” Frank chipped in.
“I won’t mind having Isabell as the sister I don’t have.” Sandra replied smiling.
“Me too. Or what do you think big sis?” Isabella asked and they all bursted into laughter.
“You are a very funny girl.” Sandra said.
“Just like Janet when she was here.” Frank added. And his reply or addition was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
“What did you just say?” Sandra asked hitting the table with her fist, causing the drinking glasses to spill.
“I said she is as humorous as Janet.” Frank replied foolishly. And before he could get a grip of himself, his elder cousin was already ranting angrily. It was then he remembered that Janet left his cousin’s house on a very bad note.
“I knew it, you guys were working together. No wonder you said nothing when I told you she duped me of eight million naira. You have to tell me where she lives because I knew all about your celebrating your victory against me. You met today right? And you took pictures.”
“Aunty please take it easy.” Isabella said but her vision soon went blank after she realised that Sandra had slapped her hard accross the face.
“Sandy, I don’t understand what you are talking about.” Frank said.
“You understand when am through with you. Now you two get out of my house.” Sandra screamed at them.
It was a little after the hour of six when Clement decided to check on Ngozi at the hospital. He walked into the waiting room and a nurse urshered him into Ngozi’s ward. He pushed the door open and walked into the room, Tobiloba seated by her bedside.
“Mr Clement, you are welcome.” Tobiloba said.
“Good evening sir.” Clement said shaking hands with him.
“Sit down.” Tobi said vacating his seat for him.
“No no no. Please sit, I only stopped by to know how she is feeling.” Clement replied.
Meanwhile, Ngozi laid down on the bed watching the drama being performed by the two men with total indifference.
“How are you feeling now?” Clement asked holding her hand. Ngozi nodded her head weakly, which Clement interpreted as getting better. “When is she getting discharged?” He asked her fiancee.
“For now, the doctors want to monitor her response to treatment. But am sure she’ll be out in few days. Not much damage was done to her spinal cord according to the x-ray result. But the shock has caused increase in her blood pressure.” Tobiloba explained. This guy would have made a good doctor.
“The Supritendent asked me to give you this letter.” Clement said dropping an envelope beside her.
“What’s inside?” She asked weakly. Tobiloba had already picked up the envelope and was tearing it off.
“According to the meeting we had today, you have been suspended.” He said.
“But why?” Ngozi asked.
“No one was willing to talk about your offence but I think you overstepped your boundaries. They said you boycotted existing protocol and acted on your own.” Clement replied.
“Was that what I did?” She asked.
“Actually, I don’t think there is anything bad in what you did, I am suspecting Sylvester as the brain behind your suspension.” Clement explained further.
“My suspension is until when?” She asked facing her fiancee. Tobiloba who had the letter in his hands was no longer interested in reading the content of the letter since he had heard all from Clement.
“Its indefinite. Even Mike has a hearing tomorrow.” Clement continued. Ngozi inhaled deeply, this was not what she envisaged when she discovered the underground. Her dream was to unravel whatever mystery, whatever secret that dwell in the inderground. But now, everything seems impossible and those dreams looked unreal and impossible. Will I give up? No.
“Mike has a hearing? Abuja I suppose?” She asked, this time all weakness in her had vanished and she looked strong again.
“No, Ibadan.” Clement replied. “Just take your time to recuperate and you’ll be fine. I’ll talk to the commissioner and believe me, as soon as your are out of here, you are back to work.” Ngozi nodded and went into deep thought.
“Clement, there is something I want to tell you.” She said. Clement urged her to go on with whatever she wants to tell him. “You see, that room where you met me leads to an underground.” She stopped to see his reaction. Satisfied that she got his attention. “I’ll want you to explore the underground and make the most of it. Try and get past the electric security that is in place. It could lead us somewhere you know.” She continued.
“So, you later went on to enter the underground? That’s ridiculous. Thank God something was able to stop you.” Tobiloba shouted.
“Mr Tobiloba, keep your voice down. So you knew there was an underground and you refused to tell anyone about it?” Clement asked.
“Hassan knew about it.” She replied.
“Who the hell is Hassan? You knew Hassan is a soldier, and millitary men are always power hungry, he’ll support you not breathing it to anyone so that he can have a fair share of the commendation.” He continued.
“You need to see how she reacted when I asked her not to go on with investigating the underground. She stopped talking to me.” Tobiloba added.
“Tobi please. Save it.” She said cutting him short.
“So where is that Hassan now? Because I remembered we were looking for the two of you then.” He asked.
“Hassan is dead. He was lying dead when I entered the room.” She replied.
“Do you know what that means? Automatic dismissal from the force if they ever found out Hassan is dead.” Fear gripped her. Even though she planned resigning from the force immediately after her marriage, she was not a fan of leaving a job unceremoniously.
“Just do something concerning the underground.” She said and turned her back to the two men.
Clement walked into the room, he had just finished dinner.
“Darling, are you a sleeping already?” He asked as he hung a towel over his shoulder and proceeded towards the bathroom.
Few seconds later, she could hear the sound of water running from the bathroom. To her surprised, she stopped hearing the running water, she was hearing it at a distance. Her mind seemed to be far away, she could still remember the look on her father-in-law’s face when he saw her on the stairs a few hours ago. The outline of his face still plays clearly before her, when he moved closer to her and said he wasn’t convinced. Its about time they return to their own apartment was her conclusion. But she still hasn’t gotten all the facts she wanted.
She still wants to get in his study one last time before she leaves. Her younger sister, Chidinma, a youth corper serving in the city of Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo state, a state in the South-west Nigeria, a country in West Aftrica. She’ll try and explain what she saw in Chief Patrick’s study, give her the photocopied papers and pictures of him.
Keeping the secrets all alone to herself is a burden to her and she has been having sleepless nights, and unless she spill it out to someone else, she won’t be at peace. Chidinma seemed to be the only reliable person close to her, she knew Chidinma will advise her on how best to handle the situation. Clement would have been the best candidate, but she knew Clement will personally hand his father to the police. And she is not ready to be the cause of enemity between father and son.
She considered Onome, but she wasn’t a member of the family and couldn’t be trusted that much. Finally, she felt Kelvin would have been a lot more helpful, but she couldn’t phatom why she hasn’t told him anything yet. But what was he watching on his laptop in the afternoon? She’ll have to find out all by herself. She snapped out of her reverie with a start.
“Where have you been?” Clement asked smiling. She wanted to talk but no word came out. She kept panting and breathing hard.
“What’s the matter? Have you been thinking?” He asked placing her head on his laps. She turned her head to look at his handsome face. She wanted to smile and tell him there is no problem but she couldn’t bring herself to looking him in the eyes for five seconds. She was still feeling guilty about her short fling with Doctor Rapheal.
Then Clement picked up his phone and dialled a number. He spoke into the receiver for a few minutes before wishing the person a wonderful night rest.
“Ngozi right?” She asked playing with the hem of her nightie.
“Yeah. She had an accident today and she is in the hospital.” Clement replied.
“An accident? Where? How?” She asked, concern written all over her face.
“She was electrocuted and smashed against the wall today. We went on searching a certain Mr Ayo Okorie’s residence which was invaded a few days ago by some of our men.” He explained. The name Ayo Okorie rang a bell in her head, she wanted to ask more question but she let them go.
“So, how is she feeling now?”
“She is much better.” He replied kissing her forehead. If only he would spend more time with her and show her the love and care that she deserved, she’ll have no time to think about Rapheal and his advances.
“Which hospital is she in? I may want to say hi to her tomorrow.” She asked. Mentioning the word hospital reminded her that she intended talking to her husband and requesting for a change in hospital. She wanted to go as far as possible away from Doctor Rapheal’s vicinity.
“St Battahias hospital.” He said. “That reminds me, Doctor Raphael sent his regards.” Talk of devil, he even sent his regards through her husband. Even if Ngozi is at the point of dying, she won’t visit her. Even if her(Ngozi) means survival is in her hands.
“I can’t wait for you to have my baby.” He said changing the topic and caressing her baby bump.
“Why?” She asked smiling. But still not looking at his face.
“I’ll become a daddy, a proud one at that.” He replied. She bursted into laughter.
“Wait till then. The proud father.” She said.
“How about if we…” He said.
“If we what?” She asked, this time she glanced at him and took her face away.
“You don’t expect me to say it, do you?”
“How about if I sleep? Good night.” She said carefully rolling to the other side of the bed.
“You dare not.” He said laughing.
Don was standing at the centre of the living room, five mean looking guys were standing round him. They all kept quiet as they seemed to be going over a period of mourning. But their faces didn’t look sorrowful, it looked mean, bloodshot and ready to kill. The room was so silent that you could hear a pin drop. The only reoccuring sound in the living room was the ticking sound made by the clock.
The time showed 7:52pm. The door into one of the rooms opened and a young girl of about twenty-two walked out fully dressed in a pink top and a black jean trouser.
“You are through?” Don asked as she approached him. She nodded her head slowly as she bowed to the five guys standing around the centre table. Don dipped his hand into his back pocket and removed his wallet. He counted wards of Naira notes and handed it over to her.
“That’t ten thousand naira? Eight thousand for the job and two for your transport.” Don said putting his wallet back into his pocket. The lady smiled as she counted the money for confirmation and slowly kept it in her handbag.
“I’ll call you once you are needed. Now get out of here.” Don said to her sharply. She bowed her head greeting the other guys again and with one last look at Don and the room, she walked out of the house.
The door into the room from where the lady had come out two minutes opened and Deoye walked out looking handsome but dangerous in his all black attire just like the other five guys had done. Only his cousin, Don was putting on an all white attire. He bowed his head in the manner which the girl had done and the five guys responded by holding their left elbow in the palm and bowing too.
Don with a snap of his fingers motioned him to come forward to where he was.
“How was it? Hope she treated you well?” He asked. Deoye nodded his head affirmatively. He was surprised when the girl who introduced herself as Chelsea arrived 7pm, about fifty five minutes ago. Don asked him to lead her to one of the rooms and comply with whatever she asked him to do. He was not only surprised, but scared when the lady started undressing and before he could get a grip on himself, he was already banging the girl with reckless abandon.
The girl who seemed to be acting on instructions given tried as much as possible not to make a single sound throughout the act. She only gave stiffled moans all through the act. At some point, she dugged her teeth into the only available pillow to prevent her making noise. Even though he enjoyed the time with her, he wanted to ask why she was doing that type of job, because she was still very tight down there and her hole had a very firm grip on his member despite the flowing juices which has lubricated the walls of her private. But time was not on his side and moreso, he personally doesn’t have a straight answer as to why he joined or got involved in cultism. But he succeeded in getting her number and promised to hook her up some other time.
“Take this.” Don said giving him a plate filled with whitish powder and two straws. Also, on his other hand was a bottle of five acoholic drinks mixed together. He wanted to question why he had to inhale the white powder, he had no problem with the mixed drink. He was a reckless drinker before hand and also a chain smoker. But he had never inhaled cocaine in his life.
With one swift gulp, the drink was down his throat and in two successive deep breath, he inhaled the whitish powder. He could feel his head spinning and ringing aloud, he felt like sleeping but the feeling only lasted a few seconds.
A minute later, he felt on top of the world, he felt like sleeping on fire, he felt he could walk on broken bottle without a cut.
“Now lets get out of here.” Don said leading them all out of the living room with Deoye following him closely behind. Even if they didn’t mouth or mention a thing about where they are headed or what their missione was, someone in his right frame of mind would know they are headed for a mission to kill. But since Deoye is the main man being equiped, no doubt, they are headed for the last phase of their campus killing. Tolani and Dolapo are the main target.
Meanwhile Tolani is yet to say a thing to anyone about the paper she received a few hours ago in the lecture hall.
To be continued