Waait Town Market, Anthanna.
It was the first Market Day in the month and the Town Market Square was rowdy as usual. People from neighboring towns, cities and villages had come to patronize the sellers. The many unarranged selling points on the roads and illegally parked vehicles at some points also added to the clumsiness. The selling points and stores were both on the left and the right sides. There was a road in between which was usually not visible as the crowd of people walking occupied it and only gave way when a vehicle was seen coming from behind them.
Jennifer could be seen in one of the stores, sitting on a bench and with a phone in her right hand. She was dressed in a native Waait gown. The attire was made of similar material to the dutch wax, with patterns around it. She also had it tied around her forehead like a scarf and a different material covering her forehead.
Another woman is at the store with her, the real owner of the store. She’s at the front, attending to customers. She was advanced in age compared to Jennifer but barely in her sixties. She had a happy face and calm look. She was dressed in exactly the same type of cloth as Jennifer was, only that her gown was long and less tight fitted.
“Can you get me the carton of cheese in the store?” the older woman beckoned on Jennifer.
“Sure,” Jennifer smiled and walked into the store immediately. Two hours had past and that was the first time the woman would allow her help her even though Jennifer had offered to help many times.
Jennifer returned with the carton some seconds after and placed it on the table.
“Thank you,” the woman smiled.
Jennifer smiled back with a nod and turned back. She was close to the bench where she previously sat when the watch on her wrist vibrated. She raised her hand slightly and stared at the screen for a brief moment. She then turned immediately and looked left and right before stepping forward again.
She stopped beside the woman and whispered something into her ear. The woman turned her neck slightly and stared at Jennifer’s face. She seemed confused and not sure of what to do.
“Do you remember all we told you?” Jennifer asked.
“Yes, I do.” she nodded gently.
“You don’t need to be scared, just do all we’ve told you.” Jennifer said to her in a soft reassuring tone.
The woman nodded again and turned back to attend to the customer.
Two minutes later, a bus appeared in sight, only some few metres away. Jennifer could see it from when she raised her neck. It was driving slowly from the left hand side. She remained calm and continued with her phone.
It still took the bus up to two minutes to get to the front of the store because of the crowd of people that stubbornly refused to give way even with the blaring of the horn. It parked on one side of the road just in front of the woman’s store, further making the road tight for the pedestrians.
The bus was painted white but it had turned to brown from dust. It looked so dirty like it had come from a very far distance on a bad road.
Two men dropped from the front seats of the car and headed towards the store. Another two men dropped from inside the bus. One of them went to the back of the bus to open it from the boot behind. The bus had only the front seat and a row behind it, the rest of the space was empty.
The trader smiled at the men as they approached her. Jennifer was now looking up and watching them.
“Good morning, I’ve been expecting you. Why are you late today?”
“Good morning ma’am,” the man who led them greeted. “We were so busy this morning.”
He had a thick accent and from it one could tell he was from South Husan. He looked well built, even though not so muscular and tall. He was not looking too neat. His choice of clothes did not help, they seemed too much for the hot weather. He was wearing a grey jacket with a navy blue shirt inside, he also had a head warmer covering his head. He looked like someone who was returning from the farm. The others did not look too different from him, they were dressed the same way. Only one of them were not putting on a head warmer.
“You are here with only one vehicle today, don’t you plan on getting so many foodstuffs?” The trader asked, acting surprised as she stared at the road looking to see if another vehicle was coming.
“No, we just need a few supplies for now. We haven’t finished selling the ones we took the other time,” the man replied.
“Okay, I ordered the usual quantity of goods for you but I guess you would have to return next time for the rest of them.”
“Yes, please you keep it safe for us.”
“Sure,” the woman smiled. She turned back slowly to Jennifer who was watching them. “Please get me the keys to the second store.”
Jennifer got up quickly and walked into the main store. She returned some seconds later with the key.
“Is this your daughter?” the man who had had the conversation with the trader asked as Jennifer returned with the key.
The trader was already attending to another customer but was listening to him.
“Yes, she is.” she answered. She motioned Jennifer to give him the key.
He collected the key and handed it over to another man who led the other two to the other store behind the main store.
“She’s beautiful like you,” the man complimented.
“Oh! Thanks,” the trader replied with a smile, even as she attended to other people.
“Good day sir,” Jennifer smiled and greeted the man.
“Good morning,” he smiled back at her.
She walked past him to the side where the vehicle was parked. She walked to the back and spent some time, acting she was just having a look at the vehicle. She took a walk around it and walked back to the shop.
“You ain’t from Waait, are you?” She stopped at the counter in front where the woman was previously standing.
The woman had gone in to pick an item. The men who had gone to the back of the main store were now returning, carrying heavy bags.
“We’re from a very far village,” the man replied. The smile disappeared from his face and he turned to look at the men coming with the bags.
“They’re from Sisa,” the trader said to Jennifer.
“Oh! I’ve heard of that place,” Jennifer exclaimed. She wanted to ask the man another question but when he turned towards them again, it was brief and the look on hid his face was no longer the friendly look. She decided to remain quiet.
To the woman, the men were just traders from Sisa village who used to come to get supplies from the Waait market. She acted the role of a middleman, always sourcing for all the items for them and keeping in her store for them to get it on the market day or the day after it. She would order the goods from other traders and they would deliver to her store very early on the market day. She had the phone number of the man who led the others but had never been able to reach him when she wanted, he always reached her instead. She however never thought it was suspicious or found anything else suspicious about him until Jennifer and two other men had visited her the previous night.
It took about twenty minutes for the men to complete arranging the goods into the bus. The man paid the trader and they got into the vehicle immediately after.
Jennifer watched them go before she took out an earphone and fixed in her ear. She dialed a number on her phone.
“They took the bags and they left already,” she said briefly and ended the call. She got up from the bench and walked to the woman who was staring at her. “It’s no longer safe for you here ma’am, some men may come for you if they find out what was done.”
“Okay,” the woman replied in a calm tone and drew in a breath.
“Thank you ma’am,” Jennifer said and walked away quickly without taking another glance at the woman.
Deols Airport, El Deols.
“I just landed in El Deols,” Paul Edwards said as he walked out of the building. He had a small traveling box which he dragged along as he walked towards the garage.
He was dressed in black suit, a white inner and a black tie. He also had dark sunshades covering his eyes.
“Welcome, I’ll send you the address of the place to meet me.” A man replied from the other end.
“Send it now,” Paul Edwards replied, his eyes wandering around like he was searching for something. “But I have to stop by to pick some tools.”
“Sure, take your time.”
Paul Edward’s eyes were still wandering around when he spotted a man waving beside a blue car at the other side of the garage separated by a road away from where he was.
“Please hold on a second,” he said into the phone and quickly proceeded to the roadway.
“Mr Stone?” The cab man met him on the road to collect his bag.
“Yeah, Mr Stone.” Paul handed his box to the man and followed him to the car. He continued his conversation. “I’m getting into the cab now, is there any other thing I need to know before getting there?”
He stepped into the car after the cab man opened the door. The door was closed after he sat comfortably.
“Nothing for now, just get here and let’s solve this together.” The voice replied.
“Okay, see you soon.” Paul said and ended the call. He tightened his grip on the phone and took in a breath. “Yeah, we got to solve it. We have to stop Carl and all of them.”
The dusty two lane road had thick bushes covering both sides. There were potholes at almost every point on the road, a result of negligence of the government over the years.
The black rickety car was parked by the side of the road, just after a sharp horizontal curve on the road. It was parked so close to the bushes to avoid accident. The car was covered with dust from the long journey, and one could not easily tell what the colour was, looking from afar.
Dave and Cole were at the front seat of the car while Hannah was sitting behind. All of them were dressed in the same type of shirts and trousers, with a colour similar to leaf green.
“They’re so close already, less than 0.5 kilometres close to this place.” Dave announced to them.
Cole stepped out from the passenger’s side first and Hannah at the backseat followed. Hannah walked to the back of the car and leaned her bum against the boot while Cole walked to the other side of the road.
Dave drove the vehicle about fifteen metres forward and parked it at the centre of the road. He turned off the engine and also stepped out with his gun. They all hid behind the bushes where they could not be easily seen and waited for the arrival of their target.
The dirty white bus appeared in sight not too long after. It had just passed the sharp horizontal curve when the man driving noticed the car blocking the road in front. There was no need to slow down as the motion of the vehicle was already slow due to the several potholes on the road.
“What is this nonsense?” the driver said as they drove close to the car slowly.
“Can’t you pass beside it?” the man who led them to the market asked. He was sitting on the right hand side of the driver.
“There’s a hole at that side I always like to avoid,” the driver replied and stopped movement at about nine metres close to the car.
“But you can take it, there’s no danger now since it is not raining season.” One of the men behind them suggested.
“Who is this idiot?” The leader asked as he sighted Dave stepped out from the bush. He seemed to have gone into the bush to ease himself as he was buckling his belt as he walked to the center of the road where the car was parked. He also seemed oblivious of their vehicle.
“What the hell is wrong with him?” the driver asked when Dave stopped by the car but instead of going in rested his back against it and looked up in their direction.
It was now obvious the man was aware of their presence.
“Looks like some local thief,” the leader of the men said after looking and examining the man standing by the car for a moment. He turned his neck to the men sitting behind. “Two of you should go get him,” he ordered with a nod of his head.
The two men stepped out and pulled out knives from their bodies as they proceeded towards him. Dave also turned and pulled out a metre long thin metal from the floor before the backseat.
The two men stopped briefly when they saw he was ready for them, they glanced at each other’s face and then charged towards Dave the next second.
Dave also stepped forward in readiness to take them. It was time to make use of one of the moves he had watch Henry do.
He made two swift movements simultaneously as the men got to him. He struck the rod at the first man and leaped, sending a kick to the other. The first man dodged the rod but the second could not as he got hit on the face by the kick, he staggered and missed his steps due to a pothole behind and fell to the ground heavily.
Dave landed and turned quickly. He saw the first man about to turn and he thrust his rod forward quickly, pushing it into the belly of the man who turned to it. He followed with a kick to the man’s chest.
The other two men left in the vehicle were caught unware by Hannah and Cole. They were still watching the fight and contemplating if they needed to join when the leader of the team noticed someone by his side. It was however too late for him to act, as Cole had launched a blow to his face already through the open window.
Cole dragged his face forward again and pulling his collar with his left hand and sent another punch to his face with the right hand. He held on the man’s collar and opened the door. He dragged him out and close the door quickly.
He tried to raise the man’s face up to punch him again but the man retaliated with a punch to his belly. Cole however did not let the punch in the belly move him as he replied with two punches to the man’s face and a kick to his belly. He pushed him to the car and followed with more blows to his belly.
On the other side, the driver of the car was shocked when the man sitting by his side was punched but before he think or make any move. He saw a gun pointed to his face.
Henry and Hannah were in a space surrounded by bushes, sitting at different points. Henry was sitting on a rock while Samantha was sitting on the huge visible roots of a tree. A Jeep was at the center of the round space, the boot was left open and there were some bags of ammunitions in it.
The call Henry had been waiting for finally came in. He answered it and placed the phone close to his ear.
“You can start coming closer now,” Dave’s voice sounded from the other end. “We just finished with these men, we’re only taking the driver with us. We’d be leaving soon after changing into their clothes.”
“Okay, you have to be careful. You’d meet several of their men on the way and your responsibility is to take them down without noise,” Henry replied.
“Okay boss,’ Dave answered.
“Instruct all the men to remember to use their silencers, we must not make any mistake in this.”
“Sure, we would take caution.”
“Thank you.” Henry replied and ended the call.
Henry got up from the rock and looked towards Samantha, she was already staring at him.
“It’s time to leave,” he said to her and proceeded towards the car.
She also got up and joined him.
To be continued.