Clement and his men proceeded into the now dark tunnel, each an everyone of them holding their flashlights. The order was to switch on the flashlight, know if the enemy is close, then switch it off before pulling the trigger. Clement knew sooner, or later, the gun men will leave their hiding place and advance towards them, he wasn’t going to gamble his chances, in a second, he switch on the flashlight, pointed it towards the cell where he rescued the five girls a few minutes ago, he ran into the cell and his men followed suit.
The gunmen had already gone into hiding, the reason being that they were quite unsure of the direction where the intruders were shooting from, even though they saw their flashlights from one direction, but the death of two of their members had taken them unaware and they had to withdraw to form a game plan.
“We don’t know where this men were hidden, but I am pretty sure that they are no longer in the cells. All you need to do is discretly enter each cell and free the girls, everywhere is dark, it will be difficult for them to spot you.” He explain to his men who listened with rapt attention. Even the police who were afraid at first are beginning to enjoy the whole adventure, but the fear of death is the beginning of wisdom for them. Even though, the soldiers loved it and are willing to go into more action.
“Go in twos. There should be three life saving groups, meaning six of us here will go on the mission to release the girls, while the rest of us here try our best in engaging the gun men for as long as possible.” Clement explained. “Now go.” Clement said to the six men who had already assemble before him.
Immediately they set out of the cell, about ten bullets hit the rocky walls and it cracked. The men all withdrew into the cell unhit.
“They are shooting sporadically, and unknown to them, we found out where they are hiding before they did.” One of the six men explained.
“Everyone hold out fire and shoot in their direction. You guys will have to move as fast as possible into each cell and untie the girls.” Clement explained. The men nodded, it sounds interesting. Moving amidst bullets can be risky and life threatening but its all fun to the soldiers, while the policemen are still pondering over what could happen.
“Now once you come face to face with their hiding place unnoticed, take them all out at once.” Clement concluded. It all sounded like the best idea, but how to go about it was the problem. When they are not ghost or invisible, how are they expected to walk in front of healthy men who were sporadically shooting, even if its dark, they could easily spot their moving shadows. But they won’t criticise Clement’s order because it is Clement. Clement and his men all stood against the iron bar, then the shooting started. Quietly, the six life savers crept out in search of the girls being held hostage.
Dolapo and Darasimi approached the two policemen who were leaning against the car in which they brought Dolapo to school.
“What kept you so long?” One of the men asked rudely.
“The crowd was too much.” Dolapo replied curtly. A minute later, they drove out of the school gate.
“Please, I want to see my friend at the hospital.” She said. For the first time, Darasimi rode in the same car with her.
“As you can see, we are out of the school, there is no way I can turn back.” The rude guy replied.
“You can just enter through the second gate over there.” Dolapo replied keeping her cool. She had learnt to tolerate the two policemen, from the first time they drove her to school, she had disliked them. They were trying to boss Ngozi around, but the tough lady was up to the task of shutting them out. “Please, just park over there. I’ll walk the remaining distance to the hospital and I promise to be back in five minutes.” She pleaded. Darasimi wanted to talk, but knowing she had no say in the matter glued her lips. Dolapo was hopeful the guy would stop the car once he get to the second gate, because she thought he was only pretending like most policemen do, but to her suprise, he sped past the second gate.
“Park! Park! Park!” She shouted. The driver ignored her and continued driving.
“I’ll open the door and jump out o.” She threatened. The rude guy swerved off the road and switched off the ignition of the car.
“You know what? You can go, I will find my way home.” She said as she opened the door and got out of the car, Darasimi followed suit. The two officers in front exchanged looks and before any of them could say a thing, Dolapo and Darasimi had already crossed to the other side and are heading back into the school.
The six life savers discretly entered the first cell amids gunshots.
“Ow!” The girls in the cell wanted to scream.
“shhhhhh! Its the police.” One of the life savers said to shut them up.
“Wha?” One of the girls asked. It was evident that some of them are no from Nigeria and therefore didn’t understand the english language.
“Poliza.” Another girl whispered to her. The girls relaxed and allowed themselves to be untied by the life savers.
“Wait right here, we are off to the other cells. I repeat, don’t move until you hear order from us.” One of the six men who had assumed the role of leadership right from the time they set out, thanks to his outspoken nature and fluency. Immediately, they exited the cell, one of the sporadic shots hit one of the six life savers on the head and his slumped to the ground and died. Thanks to the nature of the ground, his thudding sound could not be heard from afar, but his colleagues knew something had hit him. The best thing to do at the moment is to move on and not reel in death of one of them.
The police team stood a greater advantage against the gunmen because, the police were hiding in a vantage position where their shots fly directly to the gunmen hiding place. While the other team were hidden behind a bend in the tunnel and before they could aim at Clement and his boys, they would have to come out of hiding, meaning, most of them were being killed even before they pulled the trigger.
Discretly, they entered the second cell, the third cell, and everything seemed to be going their way, until another one of them was dropped, even though they hadn’t been discovered.
After five minutes of playing the discrete game, Clement and his team started advancing towards the gunmen. Majority of them has been killed leaving them with about five to take out. This could be noticed as a result of the gunshot. The number of bullets hitting the wall had reduced which prompted Clement and his men to advance towards them. Gun battle had stopped for now, the gunmen were trying to figure out what was going on as they whispered to one another, but unknown to them, their hideout has been uncovered, the four remaining life savers wer standing directly infront of them, and releasing about three bullets each, they dropped dead, Clement flashed his torchlight to confirm, about seventeen men laid on the floor meaning two had been killed by him personally to make a total of nineteen, and they had ten cells, two men per cell. The equation was incomplete, one of them had escaped, probably to inform the others of their intrusion.
In five minutes, the girls had been freed, about forty five of them. Now, the problem is how to transport everyone of them out of the underground safely.
“We have to be fast guys. By equation, one of these men is missing, we don’t know what he is up to. Move it.” He ordered his men who rallied round the forty five girls and moved all at once, thanks to the width of the tunnel. Slow walks broke into small jogs and a little while later, they were running towards the exit. The had covered grounds when they all could hear loud voices behind them.
“Hurry up, they are coming for us.” Clement said. Two minutes later, they got to the door which was earlier broken by the men when they were leaving for the inner part of the tunnel. “Fasten a chain lock on the door.” Clement ordered two of his men who had opened their bag and removed the right equipments for the job. “The rest of you should keep moving.” He commanded while he stayed behind with the two soldiers who were chaining the door. “How long will it take before they get it opened?” Clement asked.
“Chances of they spending more than that?” he asked.
“Slim.” Just as the footsstep got closer, Clement knew its either they take to their heels and be killed three minutes later or stand back to withstand the forces advancing towards them. They left the door and took the bend that finally concealed their location. They could hear the gunmen trying to break the lock, just when one of then advised them to use a gun in breaking the chain, Clement came out of his hiding place and shot two of the advancing lot. Three seconds later, still in shock of the gunshot, Clement took advantage of their shock and came out of his hiding place to release three quick shots.
“Wait right here and hold them. Let me get more men.” He said and quickly went in search of the other members of the team whom he knew would still be at the ladder into the underground, going up one by one.
Dolapo and Darasimi entered the waiting room in the ICU where nobody was seated except Tolani’s mother and pastor who was spitting fire as he prayed. The two ladies knelt down as soon as they entered the waiting room and let the pastor rain down blessings on them.
“Thank you because you have answered our prayers.” He said.
“Thank you Jesus.” They chorused.
“In the name of the lord most high we pray.”
“Amen.” The three women said in unison. They stood up and took the nearest seat to them.
“Thank you very much pastor.” Tolani’s mother said.
“Lets thank God for everything.” He replied.
The pastor discussed with Tola’s mum while Dolapo and Darasimi stood next to the glass wall and watched their friend who by now was the only one in the ICU.
“My sister, please let me see you in private.” The pastor said.
“Me?” Dolapo asked.
“No, your friend.” He replied pointing to Darasimi who quickly took excuse from her friend and walked out of the waiting room with the pastor.
“God bless you.” The pastor said.
“Amen.” She replied.
“Your name?” He asked.
“Oluwadarasimi Christiana.” She replied. It is only when you are in front of a man of God that you mention your christian name, especially when you need prayers.
“You have to be very watchful and prayerful. There is danger lurking in the dark, but God is ready to lift it off you provided you can fast. Three days.” The pastor explained. If there was one thing she hated in christianity, it was fasting, why would she starve herself for no reason when you can talk to God in the language he understands. But the reply she had always gotten from her mother was, even Jesus who had direct access to God fasted.
She once considered switching faith by becoming muslim, but going to mosque five times a day was a major turn off, she will also end up messing up her make up when its time for prayer, Muslims also fast.
Then she decided to stick to christianity where all she needed to do was go to church on sundays and under two hours, she is back home.
“Three days fast?” She asked.
“Yes. That is, tomorrow, sunday and monday. Just fast, and make sure you spend those days in your room. The lord shall lift every danger off you in Jesus name.”
“Amen, but pastor, I am writing my final exam and I have papers on monday. Can I go to the exam hall?”
“Yes you can. But make sure you leave the exam hall and its premises immediately the exam finishes.” The pastor emphasized. A minute later, they headed back into the waiting room.
“I will like to take my leave now ma.” The pastor said, just then Tolani stirred.
“Mummy, she is awake.” Dolapo screamed pointing to Tolani who had opened her eyes and was trying to figure out where she was. In a flash, Dolapo had gotten to the door which has been locked and no ousider could unlock it except the doctors. Immediately she had contact with the door knob, an alarm went off and in few seconds, security had arrived.
“Glory be to God in the most high.” The pastor said.
“Thank you Jesus.” rented the air from everybody, while Tolani’s mum was weeping and rolling on the floor. Darasimi was on her kneels singing and weeping, Dolapo just stood transfixed to a spot as she was looking at Tola and tears was rolling down her cheeks.
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The second third guy was getting ready to m—d her from behind when Don showed up.
“What the hell is going on here?” He asked. The current guy quickly disengaged from Janet as they all stood away from her. “Who gave you the order to do this to her?” Don asked as he gave Janet her clothes. “Remember, we were paid to keep her here. Even if she is our prisoner, does that mean you should take advantage of her?” Don asked. “If you are sex starved, can’t you go to a brothel?” He asked. Don walked towards Janet and put his hand on her shoulder. “Give your verdict. Should they be killed or punished?” He asked. The two guys who had already humped her were shivering. They knew it doesn’t cost Don anything to get them killed, while the others were thankful to God that they were not too jumpy to fvck her like they say.
Clement got to the exit, where the girls were made to climb the ladder upward in twos and some policemen and medical team members were ready to lift them up and walk them into the main house to be treated and attended to. They had made series of headways in the quest to escape, about twenty two of this girls had safely left the underground while about twenty three were still hovering around the ladder.
“I need three men.” He said and at once returned to the door that was restricting the the terrorist entranc to where they were. On getting there he found the two men he left to engage the terrorists in gun battle dead on the floor.
“Engage then for as long as possible.” He said to the newest three and they started shooting. The terrorists wanted to break the door at all cost, while the policemen were trying to deny the entrance to close in on them. For the next five minutes, Clement shuffled between checking on the girls who had all ascended the ladder into the main house and engaging the terrorists. Now is the right time to move, they had three minutes before the terrorists can break the door, while they will use a minute to reach the ladder point and in two minutes they are safely back on earth. He knew it was a difficult thing to do, considering the fact that in two minutes, the underground cover will slam shut.
“Lets get out of here.” He said to the two guys and at once, they tagged along the dark tunnel until they were directly under numerous flashlights.
“Come on Clement.” The head of the medical team urged. At once, he lifted his left leg and dropped in on the ladder, in a flash, he was safely back on earth, immediately, the other two guys climbed the ladder too, but before they could get help from the officers outside, the covering slammed shut and they fell back into the underground where the remaining terrorists had closed in on them. Clement concluded that their own chapter of life had finished even though he felt bad that he called them to follow him, but if he had called someone else, whoever he called will definitely suffer the same fate.
Clement was successfully led into Mr Ayo’s residence where some of the rescue girls were receiving first aid treatment. The only thing he noticed was their number.
“Where are the other?” He asked the medical team leader.
“Some of them died after they arrived here. You know the trauma and the effect it is having on their health.” She explained.
“How many of them died?” Clement asked.
“About ten.” She replied.
“Can you imagine. You mean you were here and ten children died? It would have been much better if you weren’t here at all.” He said angrily.
She had worked with Clement for many years and she knew how passionate he was about human life, especially children and women. He sometimes exeeds his limit to make sure accident victims are well attended to. Everyone knew him to be someone who loves the opposite gender and passionate about them, which was why he still doesn’t handle cases that has to do with female criminals, because he can’t bring himself to hurt them.
“Clement, I need to give you the antidote. You already inhaled the gas.” The lady said changing the topic.
“What antidote again?” He asked, it was obvious he had almost forgotten about the gas which was mistakenly released by Sylvester which led to Edgar’s death.
“But, am afraid Clement, this gas will affect your lungs.” The lady said as she covered his nose with a rubber nossle and asked him to inhale deeply twenty times as she injected him on the arm.
“How do you mean by affect my lungs?” He asked after the nossle had been removed from his nose.
“You already inhaled the substance twice today which is above the maximum to be consumed in a year. The chemical contained 75.1%…” She was explaining when he cut her short.
“Go straight to the point, I am not interested in the composition of the chemical.”
“Okay. Like I said, the chemical is likely to affect your lungs and you know what that mean? You breathing will kind of be affected too.” She explained.
“Affected, as in Asthma right? Or cancer?” He asked calmly.
“It all depends, we’ll have to run a test on you. You know Asthma is heriditary, so we’ll try and know if you have it in your lineage before we conclude.” She explained. He was finding it hard to understand what she was saying. Why will he have lungs problem at this time when he just had his first child. Does that mean he will die?
After spending about one hour with Tolani in the hospital, she left with Darasimi. The two girls laughed the whole journey from the hospital to the main road where they went their separate ways. Even though Tolani only opened her eyes, she didn’t say a thing, her eye balls were just roaming around the whole ICU, she couldn’t speak but she knew something was not right. She couldn’t place where she was, but she knew she was not supposed to be there(in a hospital) on a good day.
The doctor said she suffered memory loss as a result of the gunshot which was a little bit close to her neck, thereby tests further revealed that a certain cord connecting to the brain has been affected, but could be patch up. Even though the chances of her regaining her lost memory was slim. Dolapo was not convinced of the Doctor’s theory because at some point, Tolani set her eyes on her(Dolapo) and the next thing that happened was her eyes becoming wet. Tears trickled out of her eyes as she kept looking at her for the next five minute, without saying a thing or blinking away.
Dolapo knew she didn’t loose her memory, even if she did, it was a part of her memory that was affected.
A few minutes later, the cab she boarded came to a halt in front of St Battaihas private hospital and she walked into the big hospital after paying the cab man. She made a first stop at the waiting room where she exchanged pleasantries with some of the nurses. She had become friends with them, she remembered how she chatted with them until late in the night the previous day where she exchanged contacts with them.
“Nurse Martha, how has been your day?” She had asked the self acclaimed most senior of them all and at the same time Doctor Rapheal’s favourite among them all.
“My day has been good. How was exam today?” Martha asked.
“Exam was good.” She replied and she made for the stairs.
“Very soon now, you too will become a corper.” Martha said smiling.
Then she remembered, Chidinma who came into Lagos this morning. She excused herself from the ‘aproko’ nurses whom from the one hour she spent gisting with them the previous night, she knew the kind of person they are. They talked about everybody connected to the hospital, right from the two senior doctors to the two student doctors and the patients. The only patient they didn’t gossip about was Rachel and that was because she(Dolapo) was there with them.
She entered the ward to see an almost full house. Rachel was seating on her bed, while Chidinma was standing near the window, two ederly people whom she guessed was their parents sat on the two available chairs. The woman has the baby in her hands.
“Good afternoon.” She greeted going down on her knees.
“Dolapo, how are you?” Rachel asked. Their parents turned to face her and acknowledge her presence with a nod and a smile.
“Who is she?” She could hear the woman whisper to Rachel. Rachel smiled and whispered back. Dolapo carefully walked toward the bed and said ‘hi’ to the baby before exchanging pleasantries with Chidinma.
Rachel was still whispering with her parents and the moment her mother said something, her countenance changed from the former smiling face to a frown. She turned to look at Dolapo who had her eyes fixed on her. She was surprised to see the change in Rachel’s countenance, no doubt they were talking about her. Was her dressing provocative? She asked herself.
“How are you feeling now?” She asked like the little sister that she was.
“Fine.” Rachel snapped.
“What about those abdominal pains?” She asked.
“I already replied you. Fine.” Rachel said, anger visible in her eyes. What has she done to deserve this? Did anybody report her? Were the questions bothering her heart. She looked at Chidinma, but saw that she was looking sad too, maybe because of how she(Dolapo) was being treated. Then the door into the ward opened, and Kelvin walked in with a sexy lady tagging along behind him.
“My brother in law, welcome.” Rachel greeted.
“Rachy, congratulations.” He said sharply.
“Welcome aunty.” Rachel greeted the lady who bent down a bit as sign of respect. Something Chidinma detest alot. The lady was no other person than Sandra Oselu, the international model.
“Excuse us.” She heard Rachel say. She didn’t say anything not until she heard Rachel scream her name.
“Dolapo, excuse us.” She reluctantly walked out of the house. She waited a few seconds to eavesdrop and she heard Chidinma protest.
“Rachel, why are you treating the poor girl like that?”
“I asked her to excuse us, she is not a member of the family.” Rachel replied. She could hear Chidinma protest again.
“What about…?” She knew she was referring to Sandra.
“Keep your mouth shut or I send you out of here too.” Rachel had scolded her and everything died down. Hot tears tricked down her cheeks. Was she being rejected again? She knew it had something to do with Rachel’s parents.
To be continued