All In A Circle Episode 50

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Frank has been pleading with Sabur, Sandra’s gateman for almost an hour, but the man seemed to be enjoying the show. Frank persuaded the man with all manner of things, when he realised that he wouldn’t be allowed to enter, he walked up to his car and sat on the bonnet. The scorching sun was burning through his skin such that, even if he were at the beach or pool tanning, he’d have to dive into the water or walked to the shed. The only option he had was to enter his car and rest his aching body, his stomach gave a violent lurch that shook his whole body. He knew what it was, hunger. His ringing phone brought him back to life, he clambered to the ground from the bonnet and walked towards the passenger side on the seat where his phone lay. It was his girlfriend calling.

She has been calling him since he left home just to know how he was faring, but her concern seemed to be getting out of hand. He has been ignoring the call since and this certainly won’t be an exception. From inside the car, he could hear the sound of the gate opening once again and Sabur peeked his head out to confirm if he had gone or was still waiting. In one swift run, he pushed the skinny gateman out of the way and they both crashed against the gateman’s post. Sabur felt the most pain because, as skinny as he was, Frank rested his weight on him coupled with the fact that he hit his back on the wall.

He pushed Frank off his body while Sandra stood afar off having a good laugh. He approached his cousin with a pleading eyes.

“Yes? How may I help you?” She asked with total indifference.

“Sandy, it is me.” He replied emphatically.

“Who are you?” she asked. He knew better not to reply her question. He just moved closer to her. “How dare you?” Sandra asked. He wanted to ask her what he did that was wrong but he knew that could fetch him a slap or being bounced out.

“Sandy, believe me. I know nothing about Janet’s game on you.”

“And you expect me to believe that, don’t you?”

“I know it is hard to believe, but believe me, my emotions beclouded my thinking.”

“You went on to celebrate my downfall by going shopping right? You had no idea that you are being watched.”

“Sandra, I went shopping with Isabella and coincidentally, I met Janet shopping for her new apartment.” Frank replied.

“Apartment you said?”

“Yes.”

“You have to take me there.” She said beating him on the chest.

“I have no idea where it is. But she gave me her number.” Frank said. Sandra gave her phone to him and ordered the input of Janet’s number.

“Let me go and pick my phone from the car outside.” He hurriedly went out of the compound and returned quickly with his phone.

“Thanks.” He said.

“I am still not convinced that you know nothing about the whole game.” Sandra said emphasizing each word.

“Believe me…” he was saying when Sandra ordered him to shut his mouth and get out.

“I’ll call you.” She said to him before disappearing behind her car. It was worth it afterall. The pleading and the sun tan.

“See you later.” He said to Sabur mockingly dipping his hand into his pocket and giving him a one thousand naira note.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Clement and his team entered the St Battaihas hospital and after necessary sign ins, they were allowed to proceed to the waiting room. He was in close contact with Sylvester led team in Benin city and Edgar led team of computer analyst at the police station. The latest news he received from the Benin team was discouraging and disheartning. Sylvester is currently in the hospital after being hit in the head by a suspected terrorist. He felt a surge of excitement within him when he got a message from Edgar telling him the room from which Danger-kelv was making his call. He wanted to shoot Edgar through the phone because the ward in which Danger-kelv was the same as the ward where Ngozi was admitted. Maybe, he sneaked in during the night to make the call.

He led his boys towards the ward, on getting there, Ngozi was sleeping and checking the toilet, under the bed, the roof and neighbouring rooms, there was no sign of anybody close by. He wanted to wake Ngozi and ask her series of question but then, his eyes darted toward the window, it was opened and it seemed someone just escaped through it. Then a blarring sound came from every corner of the hospital, the security alarm just went off. A criminal was seen breaking away.

***

At the end of the day, Akpan returned from wherever he went to and walked into the hospital.

“Are you ready to go?” He asked.

“Where have you been?” She asked in return.

“I was out chilling with my friends.” He replied sitting down on one of the empty chairs. She was almost the only one in the room except a youg lady who claimed to be the other girl in ICU’s sister. And she was fast asleep meaning Dolapo is as good as being alone in the waiting room.

Tokunbo and the others left a few hours ago shortly after Tolani’s mum left to go and prepare lunch for her husband. Dolapo has a lot on her mind, on her plate. She wanted to just go and drown herself in the Lagoon.

The latest development was enough to kill her. She recently called her foster parents(Dayo’s parents) and what she heard from them was shocking. They informed her of their intended travel to South Africa and living the rest of their lives there, therefore, the only house has been put for sale meaning she has nowhere else to go after her exams. She knew their decision to travel out was triggered by something which she couldn’t fathom. But after a series of questioning, they opened up and told her they are not ready to die.

“Why was it that our own Dayo has to die and not you? Remember she was an only child and we only took you in on her insistence, and our decision is justifiable, you’ve been with us for about seven years now, we feed you, cloth you and above all pay your school fees.” They had said when she called them. She was finding it hard to believe until she received an alert from her bank, notifying her of a credit transaction on her account. A sum of two hundred thousand naira was sent to her.

The journey back home was uneventful and silent. She badly needed to talk to someone but there is no one to talk to. Her mind flashed back to that night, that faithful night that she became a member of Dayo’s family.

FLASHBACK

She was in ss2 and her parents just died in a ghastly motor accident. Her paternal uncle, a youth corper was staying with them as at the time her parents died, he didn’t leave after their death, it was two weeks now. She was slowly moving on from their deaths, she could now eat, sleep and do some other things, but occasional thoughts of not seeing them again was a major heartbreak for her.

She just finished taking her bath and still had her towel tied around her young teenage body. She could hear voices from the living room discussing in low tones. She recognised those voices at once, her paternal relatives were the ones discussing. She wasn’t interested in whatever they were discussing until she heard something about herself.

“Let the poor girl continue living in her father’s house, someone can move in with her.” Her aunt said.

“No way, the girl doesn’t belong to my brother. She is a girl and can amount to nothing except to cook for her husband and serve her husband’s family members. Very soon she will drop our own name and you want us to waste our money on her.” The family head said. She shivered from where she stood in her room. Are they planning to throw her out?

“So what do you suggest?” Another of her paternal uncle asked.

“We’ll send her out of this house and this house shall be sold.” surprisingly, everyone present at the gathering consented to it except one of her paternal sister.

The lady came to her room but couldn’t find her, she left after two minutes before she came out of her hiding place, she quickly put on her her cloth and took some of her clothes and books into two of her school bags, and off she left the house in the dead of the night.

That fateful night, she called her best friend, late Dayo that same evening, and since she was no stranger in their house, they accepted her to be Dayo’s sister which she so much crave for.

She became conscious of her environment when Akpan alighted from the car and went to open the gate to drive in. What she saw caused cold shiver down her spine, a pregnant woman and another young lady were standing in front of the house waiting for them. There was a stark resemblance between the two women. She knew at once that one of them was Clement’s wife. Fearfully, she opened the car door and alighted.

******

Clement has been thinking of what could have been the matter for about twenty minutes now. He was so deep in thought that he didn’t hear his phone ring. It beats his imagination as to why two police teams would loose out on two suspected terrorist in the space of twenty minutes. Based on Sylvester’s report, he knew he lost his guard and allowed hiself to be fooled. Which kind of passing out involves bleeding from the nose? He should have tried to examine the woman very well before trying to make a call. But all is in the past now, they shouldn’t reel in past failures, the way forward should be on their minds.

Then it hit him, he is yet to get the questioning report from Habeeb, he hasn’t heard from Mike and most importantly, he hasn’t returned his wife’s call or that of her sister. He made a mental note to call them later after speaking with Habeeb and Mike. He picked up his phone and tried calling Mike’s phone. At least by now he ought to have finished his hearing and gotten the panel’s verdict.

He could hear noises from afar, probably in the waiting room. Are they fighting again? He stood up and proceeded to the waiting room where he saw Mike hitting Habeeb furiously and other police officers including the ASP and the SP stood and watched the one sided fight in fascination. He knew no one dare try to seperate them for the fear of transfer of aggression.

When Mike is angry, he is mad. Even though the fight was one sided, Habeeb was not ready to give up. He could only duck some of Mike’s heavy punches while he seemed paralyse anytime he had the chance to punch Mike.

“That enough guys.” Clement said stepping in between them. Habeeb wiped the blood on his lips and nose as he moved backwards.

“Get him locked up. He is a traitor, he is the mole.” Mike screamed.

“Cool down man. What are you talking about?” Clement asked.

“He is the mole. He has been selling us out since the beginning of Khal corp activities. He was implanted here by the power hungry politicians to enable him work with the Khal corp.” Mike continued.

Everyone has a question or two for Mike about the authenticity of his claims but they left everything to Clement whom they knew, Mike would never go against, even if he was under acoholic influence.

“How did you come about this conclusion?” Clement asked. Some people nodded their heads, it seemed their question has been asked. Mike explained how he had visited Ngozi at the hospital and she informed him that she sent so many files from Khal corp computer to the computers here. How she claimed to have called Habeeb, asking him to accept the files and convert it, but it was Amakah, level three clearance analyst that saw Habeeb come in and carry out the criminal act.

“My question now is, why will Ngozi call Habeeb and not any of the computer analyst?” The ASP asked.

“Everyone knows that Ngozi is not on good terms with any of the analyst.” Sylvester chipped in.

“What do you have to say?” The ASP asked Habeeb who opened his mouth, but to his surprise, no words came out.

“You see, he is gulty. I bet you’ll pay for this.” Mike said angrily and made to walk away.

“What was decided about you?” Sylvester asked him, hoping to hear him get fired or suspended.

“Here it is.” Mike replied stuffing a paper in his hands before bouncing off. The SP ordered Habeeb’s lockup before dismissing everybody. After which a meeting was called, summoning every top officials in the station. The SP presided in the absence of the Commissioner and certain decisions were made. Ngozi’s suspension was called off and Mike was barred from coming to work, he was to serve his suspension in the undercover.

*******

Dolapo looked at Akpan for assurance, but his blank expression said it all. She was on her own.

“Good afternoon ma.” Dolapo greeted. She was twenty two and the lady before her was twenty eight. Six years difference, she deserved some respect and she was ready to give her. Rachel ignored her and continued starring at her, if looks could kill, she’d have died five time within the space of ninety seconds. Dolapo looked from the pregnant lady before her to the second lady, then to Akpan who was trying to hide his anxiety and fears.

“Good afternoon.” Rachel replied breathing so hard like she wants to pass out. Out of reflex, Dolapo went on her knees to greet her for the upteenth time.

“What’s your name?” Rachel asked trying to keep her cool. Even though, she wanted to vent her anger on her, she didn’t know how to go about it. She knew her approach was giving the girl before her a little confidence and time to cook up lies. Assuming she took it all against her and started by shouting and raining abuses on her, she’ll know she meant business.

“My name is Dolapo.”

“What are you doing here?” Chidinma asked moving towards her. Dolapo moved backwards a bit.

Talk of trouble, Chidinma has the strength and ability to start trouble, even though it may get out of her control and she would be unable to control it. Countless times when they were much younger, Chidinma being an asmathic patient was always a victim of stigmatization from their peers in their street. While Rachel was loved and very beautiful,

Chidinma cared less about looking beautiful and she dresses like a boy. Everytime a guy accosts Rachel in school, in church, on their way back from school, in the neighbourhood, Chidinma will always fight with them. She did this for many years until a fateful day when the boys in the neighbourhood ganged up against her and made attempt To Molest her. All thanks to her health status, the moment she started gasping for breathe, the boys took to their heels and since then, she had turn a new leaf. But the saying “once a soldier is always a soldier” is very applicable here. Rachel held Chidinma’s hand preventing her from moving further.

“I think I asked you a question.” Chidinma said. Just then Rachel’s phone buzzed.

“Hello, I have seen her, beautiful, radiant and sexy.” Rachel said on picking the call. Maybe a charm was used on her through the phone, she kept quiet and gradually, she started wearing a sober look like she wanted to cry.

“I think you should have told me everything. I almost over-reacted, thank God you called.” Rachel said. She hung up a few minutes later and faced Dolapo who still had that frightened look on her face.

“Am very sorry darling.” Rachel said closing up on her. Dolapo wanted to back away but her legs failed her. She knew she had a problem with handling difficult situation on her own. She has always had the late Dayo’s backing and protection all through secondary school.

The majority of her university life was spent in the midst of four girls, three of whom were always protective of her, while the other one is always watching her back. But now, she seemed to be all alone, how will she cope? If not for Clement’s call, she would have received the beating of her life, because the moment Chidinma closed in on her, she wanted to say she was sorry, after which she intended to walk into the house, no matter what and change to her night gown, then leave.

Rachel hugged her tight that she could feel the movement of the baby inside her bulging stomach.

“Am sorry about your friends, everything will be fine.” Rachel said as she held her hand and led her into the house. Akpan wanted to clap his hands but he knew he could miss lunch and dinner if care is not taken. As far as he was concerned, he had missed lunch, he can only hope. Clapping his hands would have disrupted God’s plan. He hurriedly carried a black travelling bag from inside the car booth and took it after them.

“Am very sorry about the mug. It mistakenly fell from my hand.” Dolapo said sincerly a few minutes later when she joined them in the kitchen.

“Its nothing. Hope you did not get hurt?” Rachel asked with concern. Dolapo nodded her head in the negative.

“Everything will be fine.” Rachel said patting her on the back. Chidinma who seemed to have been sidelined voiced out.

“I am still here o. And you can carry me along in your discussion.” Rachel bursted into laughter as well as Chidi. As much as she wanted to laugh, she wasn’t sure of what laughter means, she knew tears will spill out if she laughed. How she wished she was just happy like these lot before her.

****

Clement has been driving around town for almost and hour with Mike and two other policemen with his inside his car.

“I think we have one last stop now.” Mike said.

“Which is?” Clement asked.

“His elder cousin’s place.” He replied.

“Yeah.I believe he possibly can’t be in Minna as we speak, and he can’t be in Ibadan considering the fact that school is in session and showing up at either cities will raise suspicion, and you know his cousin will gladly accept him. Moreso, he was shot in the arm, going home will alarm his parents. But the police in the two cities are working hard to help us.” Clement explained.

“But from the informations gathered, we learnt his cousin is a notorios drug dealer and a hoodlum.” One of the two policemen seated at the backseat chipped in.

“Which is where you two are needed. Your detective skills should be on the red and ready to act.” Clement continued as he pulled up at the entrance of the deserted street. No one was moving around, no cars, and the recent ban on motorcycle within the state is having great effect on the calmness in the street.

From the spot where their car was parked, one could only see a dog having fun chasing a fowl and its chicks up and down the road.

“That’s his house over there.” The second detective said pointing to a house inside a compound, a car was parked outside the gate.

“Did you do you assignmen very well?” Clement asked. The two men nodded affirmatively. Just then a young man came out of the house, wiped his face with a hankie and entered his car, he drove off in the opposite. His backview resemble Doctor Rapheal of St Battaihas but what can a man with a respectable job be doing in a criminal’s house? Clement concluded that he wasn’t the one, but on a second throught, he remembered Doctor Rapheal was not on seat by the time he visited the hospital an hour ago. The thought of what happened at the hospital made him curse within his breathe.

All his life as a police officer, he hasn’t lost a criminal on the run but today seemed a lot different, there is always a first time. He concluded. He would have concluded that it was Rapheal assuming he knew the kind of car he uses. He’d have confirmed without thinking twice.

“Over to you guys, what surprise did you say you have for me?” Clement asked. The two detective exchanged looks.

“Move forward sir.” They said. Clement ignited the car and drove into the street slowly. He came to a halt two houses aways from Don’s compound. The two detectives scrambled out of the car and ran towards a shopping complex that stood opposite the Don’s apartment. They opened the doors of one of the shops and behold was a well equiped barber shop. Clement wanted to run away and get psychiatric officials to take the two officers with them. Everything in the shop looked new, except the chairs, the mirror and some other assets in the shop.

“What do you intend doing here?” Clement asked. Confirming that they are well out of earshot from the occupants of the other shops. One of the two detectives spoke.

“We got this from a friend. He travelled out of the country a few weeks ago, he handed the key to us. We felt this would be a perfect place to monitor the movement within the house.” Clement was not only surprised by their intelligence he out of reflex saluted the two officers who were clearances his junior. The future of the Nigerian police force is bright if we could get intelligent officers such as these two.

They later concluded that the two detectives disguise as a barber, since they had an idea of how to use the quipments. Mike would work in the undercover since he was currently under suspension. He was to show up every morning as a jobless Nigerian youth, stay with the two barbers all day and discuss politics, sports, cars, fashion and women. An idle hand they said is the devil’s workshop. They hoped he’ll get an offer to join Don’s group provided Deoye didn’t see him first or couldn’t recognise him.

To be continued