In a flash, Sylvester was back downstairs with the white box clutched between his palms.
“What do we do?” He asked. The time was ticking away and in fifteen seconds, they are done for.
“I don’t know.”Ngozi replied. Immediately her mind flashed to Tobiloba, how would he feel if he heard the news? And he warned her, he adviced her to resign from the job, but either her stubbornness or her love for the job made her remain on the job, now the love of the job is threatening her life and in a matter of seconds, she’ll be dead and burnt beyond recognition. Even if she was to die now, she anticipated a nice and befitting burial, the one when police officers from far and near would come to pay their last respect to one of the officers who restored peace in Nigeria, and this little assumption of her said it all. She was yet to restore peace alongside her colleagues, and that means she is not dying now.
“Lets try the door.” Ngozi ran towards the front door, tried pulling it open, but the door remained locked, no key hole, no door knob. She kicked, hit and even shot at the door, none of which worked. Then she remembered the house was computerised and the only way to get out of there is to provide the passcode. But how will they provide the passcode to a house they were visiting for the first time.
Sylvester came to her side, he seemed to be reasoning along the same line with her, because spread on his palm was the sheet of paper where he jotted the codes which he used in opening the room upstairs and the safe. Meanwhile Becky was having fun and smiling. She could see the jittery on their faces and body languages, they were sweating and speaking the english language like it was some strange language, at some point, Ngozi said something in english that sounded latin and her partner, Sylvester replied through gritted teeth that sounded Indonesian.
She remembered when she watched the popular American series ’24’ which was starred by Kiefer Sutherland who played Jack Bauer in the series, she remembered Bauer was always ready to handle difficult task, he doesn’t get jittery even in the face of death. She remembered his encounter with the Salazar brothers and even a part where his partner and son-in-law to be Chase had a bomb clamped on his arm, the only solution was to cut off his arm and he did it because he knew that was the only solution. So how come these two policemen are behaving like their role model, Jack Bauer didn’t face a challenge greater than this. But, Jack Bauer acted a film where everything was set to be in his favour, he would always defeat the terrorists, but in this case, it is equal, either you are defeated or otherwise.
Sylvester stood before the keyboard that hung beside the door. He had the codes, but he needed to think before he could come up with a working code. Since he opened the last bedroom in upstairs with the code, 42-FK-BECK and there were a total of seven rooms in upstairs, that means, the first room upstairs would be opened with 35-FK-BECK, and dowstairs, there were eight rooms, including the kitchen, then some other safes in the living room, he decided to use the first code that came to his mind. ’25-FK-BECK’ He typed and ‘clang’ the door gave a sound and it slid open slowly. And that was it, they were both thrown from the room as a result of the force with which the bomb went off and was smashed against the gate.
Sylvester groaned in pain as he stood up and looked at himself, he was lucky that the door was opened before the bomb went off, they were about making their way out of the house when it went off, all it could do was assist them, by catapaulting them to the gate. His clothes were torn, because he remembered how they were thrown and passed through a giant flower which must have torn his cloth.
A motionless Ngozi laid beside him, bleeding. He needed help immediately. – Backup and the medical team arrived some five minutes later, and after frantic efforts to revive Ngozi which proved a success, she was placed on an oxygen device and off she was taken into the ambulance for further treatment.
“How did it happen?” Clement asked.
“Only Ngozi can explain, but from the little I was part of, it seemed like the bomb was placed inside an intercom, the moment it rang, I think it started reading.” Sylvester explained.
Clement looked at the building which he guessed must have been the most beautiful in the estate, now a ruin, a part of the down floor was blown up with the top floor at the verge of collapsing. Clement was sure that in a day or two, the whole of the building will collapse.
While Clement and Sylvester were discussing, the backup team which was made up of a few policemen and soldiers was largely dominated by the Anti-bomb squad emergency unit members.
“What about the box she told you about?” Clement asked. Sylvester ransacked his brain but couldn’t come up with something meaningful. Where could he have dropped the box? He was sure he still had it on him when he was providing passcodes to the door, which means, he lost it after the blast or during the course of the blast.
Sylvester excused himself as he walked towards the gate which has been pulled down as a result of the automatic opening mechanism which has been destroyed as a result of the blast. Therefore, the gate will no longer open automatically like it used to as observed by Sylvester who quickly informed Clement and they came with the necessary equipments to pull down a gate.
Sylvester returned after a few seconds with a sparkling white box in his hand. Mere looking at the box, one would mistake it for a jewellery box, but only the men in the system knew better.
“Here it is.” He said handling it to Clement who thoroughly examined the box like he could see through it. The most surprising aspect of the box was that, it looked moulded, there was no visible line of opening or where it could be opened.
“How do we open this?” Clement asked.
“I don’t know, but I guess we’ll open it with explosives. Danger-kelv will know what to do with it.” Sylvester replied. Just then another explosion rocked the compound, the anti-bomb squad who were exploring the dillapidated building have also met their end. Another bomb exploded and it brought down the rest of the building directely on top of about five of them who has sustained injuried from the explosion and are unlikely to make it, but the collapse of the building on top of them signalled the the end of the career as secuirty agents and also an end to their once promising lives.
Clement and Sylvester as well as other lucky members of the team took to their heels and took cover behind all manner of things, some behind vehicles, some set of people hid behind the flowers, some sharp minded dudes were out of the compound in a flash while a foolish officer, took cover with a first aid box. Clement couldn’t help but burst into laughter.
“Only God knows how you passed all your police exams.” He said amidst laughter before other officer started passing comments and everyone’s attention was diverted back to the dead officers who were affected by the blast.
Clement’s ringing phone brought him back from the trance which he was as he watched his dead colleaguess, images of Rachel in cold blood kept flashing and he couldn’t help but shed tears. “clement, your phone is ringing.” Sylvester said. He brought out he phone and answered the call.
“Did you see what you made me do? I blew up my house just because you and your men were present. I advice you to leave or you won’t find it funny.” Becky said. Clement knew at once who the caller was and so as not to make Becky suspect a thing, he quickly picked a pen and wrote his instruction on the body of the ambulance.
After connecting the various wires of different devices, then to a tracking device which in turn was connected to Clement’s phone.
“Crack it up. Alpha-Zero-charlie.” Clement muttered the passcode to Sylvester who quickly got busy. He tried as much as possible to engage Becky in a lengthy conversation to afford the more time to get he location.
“Its not working.” Sylvester replied.
“Charlie-Alpha…..” Clement said and thought for a while, he didn’t know the right combinate to add to the already accepted combinations.
“Wait wait wait.” He quickly said to Becky who was almost hanging up.
“Intercepted.” Sylvester announced. Clement at first didn’t understand what he meant, but on a second thought, things began to get clearer.
“Our passkeys has been intercepted and Hijacked from us. We lost the game.” It was then that Clement knew that Becky is truely a professional. She seemed to deal more with computers, her house computerized, now she hijacked their own system operation without warning.
Chief Obi Patrick was discussing with his chief security officer in his not-so-richly-furnished living room.
“Chief, from what you said now, it seemed Gulak and the vic president ganged up against you and the president. Or what do you think?” The CSO asked.
“Yeah, you are right. I have always had a feeling that Gulak would betray our trust. And I told the president, but his stubborness won’t let him heed to my advices.” Chief Patrick replied.
He could remember the first time when Gulak and his kinsmen came to the party’s secretariat in Lagos, where Chief Patrick was there to host them. It was a few weeks after the president was sworn in and Gulak, the president’s closest rival in the just concluded election wanted to join hands with the ruling party. Chief Obi Patrick was elated that at last, the presence of Gulak whose was a pioneer member of the oppsition party who are in control of the South-west states where Chief Patrick lived.
Chief Obi and other party chieftains believed that the presence of Gulak who at the time he decamed came in with half of the opposition party’s structures. Thousands, if not millions of registered members of the opposition party decamped with him while several other unregistered members of the opposition party promised to support the ruling party.
Gulak’s presence in the ruling party caused a lot of rancour in the opposition party, the half structured remaining the party got broken into about three factions while some decamped to other parties, the ruling party seemed to be on course for an unopposed re-election. Gulak was given the freedom to pick any political post he’ll like to have to himself, but he didn’t say a thing until after two and a half years when he announced his desire to be the incubent president’s running mate in the forthcoming elelction, meaning he wanted the party to because of him axe the incubent vice president for him.
His request took everyone by surprise, he wanted to be the vice president or nothing. It was after almost a year that Gulak agreed to wait till the end of the incubent president’s tenure and he’ll be fielded as the party’s flagbearer unopposed. Therefore, he was given the slot to produce all three House of representative’s candidates in his state and also ten out of twenty nine members of the state house of assembly must be his candidates, he was given a slot in the senate, and a gubernatorial slot in Ogun state.
Unfortunately for him, the list he released contradicted with Chief Obi Patrick’s list because Chief Patrick was expected to present the house of representative members in Jigawa state, Gulak’s state of Origin. This resulted into power tussle, Chief Pat was not ready to succumb, and Gulak felt too pompous to give in to the request of the party elder.
The time of the tussle clashed with the day on the orders of Chief Patrick, the vice president was to be killed so that Gulak can replace him. But Gulak went on to make the Vice president ride in his vehicle. The vice president’s suv was blown up that minute. The aftermath of the bombing, Gulak and the vice president teamed up and began to make plans of how to get the president out of office so they can take over. That was why they paid Mustapha to do the job, something he did successfully, but lost his life.
Now the president has been sentenced to jail, Chief patrick is alive and still at large, there is need to do something about his existence. Chief Pat on his part has already mapped out the best way to punish Gulak by making sure, he didn’t go to sign the oath of office on the day of their swearing in.
Clement and his team were discussing in the office with the exception of Mike. They have been discussing how to get Kelvin arrested without much gun battle or blood spillage. Serious debate is on going between the front running officers, but things seemed to be on a slow down since Mike is nowhere to be found.
“So, now that we have a box which I assumed is of high importance to Kelvin, I think we could use it as a leverage against him.” Sylvester began. Every right thinking policeman or any security conscious individual will know that a treasure box such as this must be of high importance to Kelvin, but on a second thought, it will be surgical if one takes the next step without thinking about the other side of it, Becky’s stance on the issue.
“Are you guys seeing what I am seeing?” Clement asked.
“Not at all. But we could see it too, if you tell us.” Ngozi replied.
“Fine, lets look at this issue from this point. Jay told us Becky knew from the start that Kelvin wanted to kill him, but she allowed him to have his way. Remember, they claimed to have feelings for each other, according to what Jay told us.” He paused. His colleagues urged him to continue. “If truely, Becky had something for Jay, then she should have foiled the attack in the best possible ways. Also, you guys from your report said, Kelvin gave this box to Becky, the content of it we don’t know. That aside, regarding, Kelvin’s nature as the number one hitman of the khal corp, don’t you think he would have found a way to eliminate Becky since she was using it to control him? If Becky truely wants to help us in finding Kelvin, why would she blow up her house?” He paused and searched for the reaction of his audience,
Ngozi wore an expressionless face while Sylvester looked a bit lost and at the same time surprised. Only God knows what was runnning though his mind that moment.
“If you string these things up, you’ll realise that there is a contradiction and if it is not properly handled, the police will be thrown into the middle of three people and we’ll suffer for something we could have corrected a while ago. If Becky really loved Jay, she won’t support Kelvin, if she really wanted to help the police, she won’t after giving you guys evidences, she won’t blow up that place, and suddenly the Kelvin she once supported, she wants the police to get him at all cost. It doesn’t add up.” Clement concluded.
Sylvester cleared his throat, he was short of words and looked at Ngozi to say something. “Is that all you can see?” She asked with irritation which was evident even in her voice. Clement knew he had lost his friendship with Ngozi, but he knew he was fighting for the good course of the Nation.
“That’s all.” He replied.
“That means you are not seeing what we are seeing.” She said.
“And what is it that you are seeing? We can rub minds.” Clement replied.
“Well, all we can see is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, but a black veil is blocking the way. Clement, you can’t because your brother is the one involved here and decide to slow things down to enable him escape. We have our facts, we are swinging to action soonest.” She said, her voice raised. Clement was taken aback, not even in his widest dream was he expecting anything like this. A knock sounded on the door.
“Who is it?” Ngozi asked, her voice still raised.
“The commissioner wants to see Inspector Clement ma.” Ngozi kept quiet and looked at Clement for a response.
“Tell him I’ll be there in a minute.” Clement said dismissively as he stood up, adjusted his cloth and walked out. He just can’t survive another minute with Ngozi.
“I still have a feeling that Clement is a part of Khal corp.” Sylvester said.
“Well, I don’t think so. Clement is not a terrorist, he is just being biased because his family members are involved. Are you saying he killed his wife too?” Ngozi replied.
“Terrorists can do and undo. Their wives and children are bonuses to them. They don’t mind playing with their lives.” Sylvester replied.
“No, I trust Clement. He just want a lighter punishment on Kelvin in case he get caught which is why he is making things long.” Ngozi said.
THE FINAL BEFORE THE FINAL.
Kelvin was seated on a cane chair which was placed beside Sandra’s car. Sandra was seated on his laps and a cup of wine in their hands, it was all about romance.
“So sweetheart, what names are we going to give our babies?” Sandra asked. He liked her, she wants to settle down. She is looking for a man to settle down with, but if she think the man is him, then she must still be living in the 19th century. Kelvin as far as he is concerned in the next five to six years, is not ready for any commitment with a woman, not to talk of settling down and having babies.
“Your babies?” He asked.
“Stop it nau. Our babies.” She said playfully hitting him on the shoulder.
“We can call them Kelvin and Sandra if they are twin. Or Sankelv. What do you think?” He asked.
“Naughty boy.” Sandra said laughing hysterically. The two lovebirds continued their lovey dovey acts in broad daylight. The gateman, Sabur was lurking somewhere praying for a lifestyle such as this. Living in the comfort with one’s wife and engaging in hot romance in a hot afternoon such as this.
“Baby, don’t you think we should travel out of the country?” Sandra asked. Kelvin wanted to slap her because he just couldn’t understand why all her question are off point and not in anyway related to the mood in the air. First, she was asking of the names to give their kids, when she is not yet pregnant. She must be a joker.
“Travel out of where?” He asked.
“I mean, we could travel to anywhere in the world. You can foot the bills, I can foot the bills, we both can foot the bills.” She explained.
“And what will be our reason for travelling abroad?” He asked.
Kelvin who already thought of the situation at Khal corp, no one is allowed to travel abroad while still in service with Khal corp, most especially those working on the field like him. Even on medical stance, one is not allowed to travel abroad for medical reasons. Khal corp wouldn’t mind keeping you and treating you in the best of their abilities, with God on your side, you’ll survive, with God against you its another case entirely, but is God always on a terrorist’s side? That’s a question for another day.
“Just to experience a change in environment and…” She was cut short by Kelvin’s ringing phone. Checking the name and realising it was Hakym, he excused himself and walked to the back of the house to pick the call.
“Hey man.” Kelvin greeted.
“Guy, do not loose your guard. The men in black are gaining more grounds. They know how to find you.” Hakym started.
“What did you see?” Kelvin asked.
“I saw one of these top police officers on your trail at Kamboil petroleum and gas discussing with you attendant. They exchanged numbers and from the look of things it seems like they are working together.” Hakym explained. Kelvin had already received a call from the attendant, warning him to stay clear of the gas station for a while. A thing he was grateful for, because he had plans of visiting the station the next evening, so as to get his parcel.
“And if you can work things up, you’ll realise that everything connects too Jay. Only Jay knows that you are friends with Kenny, he is the only one who knew how you roll with the attendant. Be at alert, Sandra’s house may be the next.” Hakym went on.
“I understand. Thank you.” He said and hung up. He felt he is to blame for all these. He should have silenced Jay long ago instead of giving him the treatment he deserved, he left him with the police to give them informations that could well mean the end for him(Kelvin) but as things were now, its hight time he killed Jay.
Mike just finished having his lunch at a low class restaurant in town. He paid his bill and left. On getting into his car, he saw tens of missed calls from his colleagues and a message from Clement telling him to report to the office immediately he read the message. He dialled Clement’s number.
“Mike, where are you?” Clement asked.
“On my way to Sandra Oselu’s house.” He replied.
“To do what?” Clement asked.
“Kelvin is there.”
“That’s not the next step to take. You alone cannot get Kelvin arrested. We have a different plan here in the office, don’t jeopardise our well constructed plan.” Clement explained.
Mike hung up and drove off towards Dolphin estate where Sandra lived.
Clement dropped Mike’s call and faced his colleagues, or better still put as his enemies.
“It looked like he isn’t coming back. He had his mind made up, he is getting into Sandra’s house to take Kelvin.” Clement said.
“All alone?” Ngozi asked.
“It looked like he is doing it alone.” Clement replied.
“What do you suggest? Don’t you think he is putting himself into danger?” Ngozi asked.
“Well, I don’t think he is into any danger, but I think he himself is afraid to fail. If he should loose his chance to nab Kelvin, then it bounces back on us. We need a well detailed plan and strategy to get Kelvin out of his hiding place. How sure is he that Kelvin is even hiding in Sandra’s apartment? And if it turns out that Kelvin is not there, but had plans to visit her in the coming days. Mike’s visit will prompt Sandra to warn Kelvin.” Clement explained.
“So, what do you suggest we do to Mike. Force him to return here, or give him our support?” Sylvester asked. Since he and Mike had come to terms with little or no misunderstandings between them, Sylvester has always be careful of the things he said to Mike or about him. He was quick to use the word ‘we’ because his use of ‘I’ may mean he’ll be the only one to support Mike which is good, but if it happened that he would be the only one to refuse to support Mike, then it could mean something else.
“We are not giving him our support. Let him go in there and see things for himself. If he is lucky, he’ll bring Kelvin here and if otherwise, that will be the punishment of him working alone.” Clement explained.
“I stand to disagree with you on this Clement. Someone is already making a move to arrest your brother and you are slowing things down. Is it because he is your brother?” Ngozi asked.
“Tell me how sure you are about the possibility of Kelvin hiding in Sandra’s house? Jay gave you the list of possible places where you could find Kelvin. Fifty percent goes to Khal corp, why can’t you go and search for him in the corporation building? The other percentages would be shared between his house, Kamboil, his friend’s house while the least of the percentages goes to Sandra. Even if he is there, what’s the situation like? Will you be allowed entry? Don’t you think you are breaching a law? I am not giving my support to Mike, Jay gave you information about Becky, she almost killed you, this same Jay gave you information about Kelvin, have you ever thought of what the result would be?” As he spoke, Ngozi wanted to speak, but every attempt made was always rebuffed by Clement who will raise his voice and wave her off that moment.
“All the same he needs our support.” Sylvester spoke.
Mike knocked lightly on gate, a minute later, the gateman opened the gate. “Good afternoon sir. How may I help you?” Sabur asked.
“Afternoon. I want to see your madam.” Mike replied,
“How should I describe you?” Sabur asked. Mike thought for a while, if Sandra is inside with Kelvin, then it would kill his chances because Kelvin would hear if Sabur announces his presence as a policeman. Then he decided to play the smart cop on him.
“She has a visitor right?” Mike asked.
“Yeah. Her boyfriend.” Sabur replied.
“Good. Tell her, the maintenance man is here.” Sabur walked away after shutting the gate.
“Madam, you have a visitor.”
“Who is it?” Kelvin asked.
“He said he is a manitenance man.” Kelvin smiled. He still doesn’t understand when the men of the Nigerian police will grow up and come with better strategies.
“How many are they?” Kelvin asked.
“But its not time for any appliance to be serviced.” Sandra said.
“Let him in.” Kelvin said standing up and off he went into the house. Before he shut the front door behind him he caught a glimpse of Mike, all alone with his pride, ego, strength walk into the compound.
–to be continued–
In a flash, Sylvester was back downstairs with the white box clutched between his palms.