© Oyinloye Oluwatosin Emmanuel
® 18 + SNVL
“What the bleep!” Hutton exclaimed, looking up at the sky as he stepped out of the building.
The crowds were getting darker and slowly gathering. The atmosphere was somewhat moist, cold and a little bit windy.
“Is there a problem?” Kahn asked Hutton after noticing the worried look on Hutton’s face. He stepped closer to Hutton on the bare ground and also looked up. “Is it the rain?”
Hutton glanced at his face and scoffed. “Don’t you think it would be a problem?”
“It could, I’ll call to give instructions for none of our men to leave their points, no matter how heavily the rain falls.” Kahn replied and took out his phone. He was about to dial a number when he got distracted by Hutton’s sharp reply.
“It’s more dangerous than you think it is,” Hutton looked up again. “Carl Winston is a master of the atmosphere, he could use everything as a weapon against us. Everything include the wind, the rain drops, the moving trees and the wet soil.”
Kahn paused and stared at Hutton’s face, he just realized how truly the rain could make it easier for Carl Winston.
“Would it destroy our plans to make Carl Winston cause Sheila Jack’s death?”
Hutton took a glance at his face. “No, “ he answered, shaking his head. “The rain would not disturb the fire since the burning starts from inside the house. We would only tell them to increase the fuel in the box hung in the ceiling, so that it raises the fire intensity when it drops on her.”
“I’ll give instructions to our men and also make the calls to tighten the security around the camp,” Kahn said and looked up to the clouds already. “Well, it may not rain after all. The clouds have been gathering like this for some days now.”
As if in response to Kahn’s statement, a heavy wind blew at the moment, sweeping some dust in the air and sand on their faces. They both closed their eyes to block entrance of dust into their eyes.
Hutton turned his back against the direction of the wind and placed his palm above his eyes, he felt some droplets of rain on his body.
Kahn realized that it was serious than he thought, and the likelihood of the rain falling was more than that of not falling. The wind’s continued with the same intensity and he also turned in the same direction as Hutton. Done for the day? Can we fly in this weather?”
“I’ll fly the chopper myself,” Hutton replied. “The rain would not stop our movement, but I’ll go check the atmosphere now and see if the condition is perfect for visibility.”
Hutton turned and proceeded in a different direction, placing his palm above his eyebrows to protect his eyes from the wind.
“I’ll send the instructions around immediately,” Kahn shouted in reply to Hutton and he walked on in the opposite direction.
His phone rang just as he climbed up the balcony. He checked the caller and it was the Wolves’ executive in charge of the security of the place.
“Hey! Is there a new update?” He said into the phone immediately he answered. The expression on his face changed as he listened to the man. “How the hell didn’t you tell me that before?”
He quickly turned and placed his palm above his eyes to check for Hutton but Hutton had gone out of sight already.
“Send men to search around for them and get them to us unfailingly,” he ordered the man on the other end.
He let out a breath as he ended the call. He opened the call and dialed Hutton’s number immediately.
“Hey Hutton!” He scanned the distance with his eyes again to see if he could see Hutton afar off. “I was just told that there were two other people with the guy our men captured.”
“Two other people?” Hutton questioned from the other end.
“Yes, they passed the first two checkpoints unnoticed, but they weren’t seen in the vehicle at the third check point.” Kahn further explained.
“Damn it!” Hutton cursed angrily.
“It seems it’s gonna rain heavily,” Hannah noticed, fifteen minutes after they got signals from Cole and continued their journey.
“Makes things easier for us, isn’t it?” Henry glanced at her with a smiling face.
“Yes,” Hannah nodded. It’s been years of not partaking in any of the FOX’s operations and even though her department was different, she still remembered some of the physical trainings in the different weather condition which she underwent.
The rains was always an added advantage for the FOX in a war like this. Just like the FOX animals have good eyesight, FOX agents during their training are always made to subject their eyes to different conditions which makes it easier to identify and recognize objects when it is difficult for the ordinary person.
Other sense of the FOX agents are also trained. They could hear and differentiate sounds in the noisiest environment. They could differentiate smells of different items even in a confused and smelly combination. In total darkness, they could also identify objects and persons by touching and feeling their previously felt texture.
Hannah though not great in physical battles was confident with the rain as an added advantage.
They were about to turn into the road when Henry pulled over beside the bush and opened the door. He took a glance at Hannah and she already knew what he meant. She also opened the door at her side.
He stepped out of the vehicle and opened the backseat door while she turned around to the driver’s side and sat in it.
Henry left the backseat door opened and walked to the boot, he opened it and took out three different heavy bags. He closed the boot and dropped the bags at the backseat before entering.
“Open up,” he said, without looking at her and she pushed a button which opened up the car sunroof. “You can drive on.”
She adjusted the side view mirror of the vehicle and then wound up the glass before she turned into the road. Henry opened the medium sized bag and took out ten .40 S&W pistols, leaving ten more in the bag. He placed all on the seat and picked two, holding one each in either hands. He stood up through the sunroof and balanced himself with both hands spread out wide on the roof.
He got back into the car and opened the smallest of the three bags. He took out three rubber belts and placed them on the seat. He looked around the vehicle quickly and spotted the points where he planned to hang the belts which will be connected to his body to give him stability while the vehicle was moving.
Cole and Samantha had eyes staring at them as the man successfully smuggled them into one of the rooms in the camp.
There were sixteen other people in the room having lunch, seven men, all in their twenties and three ladies also in their twenties. The rest were male kids all below 12 years of age. They all noticed that Cole and Samantha were strangers.
The man who had brought Cole and Samantha in was older than all of them, he was in his late thirties and was the leader of the group of people eating in that room. One of the kids in their group was sick and had been taken to the native clinic where the man was seen earlier.
Cole and Samantha sat on the floor at the extreme end of the room while the people eating were all sitting towards the center of the room.
Cole looked around the tent and also at the people. Apart from the tattered clothes they wore, none of them looked as malnourished or weakly as they thought they would. Only one of the kids seemed to be a bit skinny.
He glanced at Samantha’s face and also saw her looking around, he was sure she noticed the same thing he did. He realized that the Wolves was feeding this people well most likely because of what they were being trained for, to become their soldiers. For such training, one really had to feed well and be healthy.
The man who brought them in returned a minute later, holding two plastic cups with water for the both of them. They received the offer with thanks from him and watched as he walked to the center where the other men were sitting.
Samantha stared at the cup of water for while wondering if refusing to drink it would not be rude. The cup looked somehow dirty but the water in it was clean and clear. She glanced at Cole and noticed he was yet to drink from his also.
“Sikiza kila mtu, ni wangapi kati yenu wangependa fursa ya kwenda nyumbani?” They heard the man asking the rest of the group if they would love to leave that camp and return to their homes.
They all stared at him without replying.
“Watu hawa wako hapa kutusaidia kutoka, ni kutoka kwa polisi.” He explained further that Cole and Samantha were there to help them get out. “Lakini, tunalazimika kufanya chochote wanachotwambia.”
None of them said a word, but only flashed looks at Cole and Samantha.
The man got up and walked again to Cole and Samantha. “Wote hapa ni wapya na bado tunatamani kwenda nyumbani,” he explained that everyone there were new in the camp and were still eager to go home.
“Oh!” Samantha exclaimed happily and stared at the others.
“Haraka haraka, mtu mwingine atakuwa hapa hivi karibuni,” he added hurrying the duo to take steps before another man joins them.
Lakini, hii ni nyumba yetu mpya. Na tukaambiwa waripoti wageni,” a man from those eating protested.
Samantha and Cole exchanged a glance. Just when they were about rejoicing that it would be easy, one of the men was protesting.
Samantha got up and proceeded towards them quickly. She faced the young man who had gotten up to protest, and assured all of them that she was there to help. “Tuko hapa kukusaidia kurudi majumbani kwako, sikiliza tu maagizo yetu.”
“Hatutaki msaada, hii ni nyumba yetu mpya (We don’t want your help, this is our new home).” The guy protested still.
Cole moved slowly towards them and grabbed the man’s neck from behind, he slammed him hard at the back of the head and the man fell unconscious immediately. He placed him on the ground gently.
None of the men watching moved or made a sound. They were used to watching the Wolves trainers treat other trainees like that.
“”Halo watu! Msiwe na wasiwasi juu ya hilo, hatutaki usumbufu wowote,” Samantha quickly squatted and reassured the others that they would not be hurt. She waited for a while and saw that they were calm before she continued talking. She further instructed that all they had to do was help themselves and others be in safety while they (Cole and Samantha) faced the soldiers.
“You guys would lead other people to the back of the clinic and wait there until one more soldiers come”
“Nyinyi watu mnaweza kuwaongoza watu wengine nyuma ya kliniki na kungojea hadi askari mmoja zaidi atakapokuja,” she further explained to them to lead every other person towards the native clinic and wait until more soldiers came.
A bell began to sound just as she was about to give room for them to ask questions. The bell sound was followed by a voice from a megaphone and instructing everyone to step out and proceed to the ground.
Everyone stared towards the entrance door until the voice stopped and they turned back to Samantha.
“We would all go out to the ground but once shooting starts, you guys here would have to lead the kids and the other people towards the native clinic like I instructed earlier.
Dave had been left in the room for over twenty minutes and he had seen nobody since then. For a while after being left alone, he had struggled to set himself free but he was tied so strong and he made no success in his efforts to lose free.
He eventually gave up and began to anticipate whatever they had to do to him. He wondered if he would get any opportunity to escape from the frying ordered by the strategist and all that kept ringing in his mind were Cole’s last words to him before they departed earlier. Not only was he hoping to see Cole and the rest of the team again, he was now silently praying in his heart.
“Get ready to die bas***d,” one of the men whom the strategist had instructed walked in after a long time. He proceeded straight to Dave and two other men walked in from behind him. “The people are waiting to watch you fried to death.”
The other two men stepped in front of the first and were about to lift Dave with the chair from both sides when the Strategist walked in.
“Put him down,” Hutton said in a commanding tone and stopped beside the man who came in first. The man stepped away immediately.
Hutton felt a vibration in his pocket and looked down to see the light on his phone blinking but he ignored the call.
Dave stared at Hutton and noticed his clothes looked a bit ruffled and not as arranged as it was before, meaning that he had been involved in some activities.
“Sir, we’re heating the oil already and we have the people gathering at the ground.” the man explained to Hutton.
“I know,” Hutton gave him a vicious look and then stared at Dave again. “You scaled through two check points with another man and a woman, who the hell are they and where did they go?”
Dave stared at Hutton’s face for a moment not knowing what reply to give. He however realized that it could be his opportunity to delay the plan they had for him.
Hutton waited for about a minute and turned to proceed out when he got no reply.
“Are you scared of Carl Winston?” Dave finally spoke and Hutton stopped immediately.
He turned back with a narrow gaze at Dave’s face. He wasn’t sure if Dave was insinuating that the other man he was seen with was Carl or if he was just trying to play on his intelligence.
He chuckled for a second and then frowned. “I’m here because I’m expecting Carl Winston, if he came with you, then he’s come at the right time to watch you and Sheila die.”
Dave looked on silently without having a reply to give. The look on The Strategist’s face showed that he was indeed not scared.
Hutton’s phone began to ring again and he took it out from his pocket. He was about to answer when Dave spoke.
“Carl Winston is here for you Hutton Ryker, he’s here to make you pay for all your atrocities around the world.”
Hutton smiled lightly and answered the call.
“Hey Kahn! I think we’ve got Carl Winston in the camp already,” Hutton said before Kahn could say anything.
“What?” Kahn sounded surprised. There was silence for about three seconds before Hutton spoke again.
“The man who was seen with our captive here is Carl Winston and he would have gotten into the camp with the lady by now,” said Hutton.
“But…” Kahn stuttered and his voice trailed off for a moment. “There’s an attack on our men at the check points now, another vehicle is on it’s way in.”
Hutton widened his eyes and returned his eyes on Dave again. He thought for some seconds before he replied. “That must be a distraction for us, Carl Winston must have mixed with us in the Camp. Give orders for a greater number of our soldiers to find their way to the ground now. They should shoot any one that looks like an intruder on sight, I don’t care if they have to kill all the captives to fish the intruders out.”
“Okay Hutton, we should also prepare to leave immediately it’s all over.” Kahn replied.
“Yeah, I’ll be with you in a moment.”
Hutton ended the call and put the phone into his pocket. He looked at Dave’s face for a moment and then turned to the men.
“No matter what happens today, make sure he fries in that oil.” Hutton said and walked out immediately.
The men stared at Dave with a look of mockery in their eyes before they lifted him and carried him out.
Hutton was still standing at the balcony of the building when the men got outside with Dave. He seemed to be considering walking under the rain which had just started drizzling.
His eyes met with Dave one more time and he watched the men step down with him and proceed towards the direction of the field which was less than two minutes walk away.
Hutton stepped into the rain and proceeded in the other direction quickly.
His mind was filled with thoughts as he walked. He had checked the weather prediction and the rain was not expected to fall for so long. He was still in control and was certain of success as everything still looked under his plan and timing.
There were more than eighty Wolves’ soldiers in the camp and over a hundred of the men who were already qualified to become soldiers. These men would be able to delay or stop Carl Winston and his team from stepping beyond the field where Dave was to be thrown into the burning oil. It was even possible Carl Winston would get killed at the field.
He still had about twenty five more well trained soldiers in reserve. Twenty of these reserved men were to stop Carl Winston if he finally succeeds in going past the field. He would be faced with these men after having been made to see Sheila in danger from afar. Hutton was sure Carl’s emotions would come to play and he would be in a hurry to save Sheila Jack. His rush to save her would make him fall into the trap that would kill Sheila Jack faster. By then, he, Kahn and two of the remaining five would be on their way to Zambia in the chopper.
Going past the first checkpoint was an easy one for Henry and Hannah. The men were taken down easily with the two guns in Henry’s hands, each capable of shooting fifteen rounds.
Henry had however been informed by Cole, how some men were hiding behind the bushes. The heavy wind also made it difficult for the men to hide as the bushes opened up and Henry was able to spot them through their clothes easily.
The bullets kept flying in different directions and the bodies kept dropping to the ground. The bullets in the gun at the right hand got exhausted first and Henry quickly dropped it into the car through the sunroof, he pulled out another from his pocket and continued with it.
He felt a vibration in his hand and he saw the light on his wristwatch screen come up. He could tell it was a signal from inside the camp. He also began to hear some sounds from the earpiece. It was Cole’s voice and he could tell from the tone that it was about to go down in the camp.
The rain was drizzling already and the intensity of the wind had increased, yet over 600 people: soldiers and captives (60% men, 20% women and 20% children) were on the field. Many had their palms placed closed to their eyes to protect themselves from the dust and the other particles being carried around by the wind.
There was a large, flat concrete stage in front. About six armed Wolves soldiers were standing there while some other soldiers were standing around the stage. On the floor, in front of the stage was a set up of stones and burning firewood, a big cubic pot on top.
Some soldiers were around the fire, trying to make the firewood burn more even under the drizzling rain and storm. One of the soldiers stepped to the middle of the stage holding a megaphone in his hand.
“Quiet!” He shouted into the megaphone and almost everyone looked in his direction. It was however difficult to tell if they were quiet or not, as the sound of the wind and the drizzling rain kept the place noisy.
The man switched to the native language to continue. “Tulikuambia mapema wiki hii kwamba waingilizi wengine watajaribu kuja katikati yetu na tukawaonya kila mtu kuwa mwangalifu (We told you early this week that some intruders would be trying to come into our midst and we warned everyone to be careful),” he paused to watch as the men carried tied Dave close to him. “Watu hawa wanajaribu sumu ya chakula na vinywaji yetu na kutuua wote lakini hatutawaachia(These men are trying to poison our food and drinks and kill us all but we are not going to let them).”
He stopped and moved closer to Dave who had been placed on the ground. “Mtu huyu hapa ni mmoja wa wahusika waliokamatwa, lakini tunajua kuwa wengine wengine tayari wamechanganyika na sisi. Ikiwa umeona mhusika yeyote, saini sasa na tuambie juu yake(This man here is one of the intruders caught, but we know that some others have already mixed with us. If you have seen any intruder, signify now and tell us about it).”
There was no response from any of the men.
Dave stared at the crowd eagerly from where he was. Their distance was about twelve metres away from him but he still tried to scan their faces. He could see no sign of Cole or Samantha. He however still wanted to believe that they were among the crowd and someone would soon identify them as intruders.
Fifty seconds passed and no one signified nor was anyone identified as an intruder.
The soldier with the megaphone let out a small laugh into the device. “Kwa mara ya pili, ikiwa umeona maingilio, ongea. Ukikataa kusaini au kutambua, itabidi ufe pamoja nao(For the second time, if you have seen intruders, speak up. If you refuse to signify or identify, you will have to die with them).”
His threat was followed by murmurings in the crowd. They all began to look and whisper to each other. Fear could be seen in the faces of the people who Cole and Samantha had stayed in their tent. Apart from the man who took them in, they were all looking around trying to spot Cole and Samantha.
Dave’s heart was beating so fast and his eyes scanning the crowd from where he was placed. He could only see a side of the crowd as the big pot on fire covered his view. There were no signs of Cole and Samantha in the area where he could see. He hoped they would be at the other side.
“Ninachosema kwa mara ya mwisho, ikiwa utakamatwa, ungeyekwa ndani ya sufuria hii na walioingilia(I’m saying it for the last time, if you’re caught, you would be fried in this pot with the intruders).” The soldier warned again.
They waited for a minute and the murmuring only increased but non identified the intruders anywhere. The drizzling rain had reduced and the murmurings could be heard loudly.
“Mchukue na uweke kwenye sufuria (Take him and place him in the pot),” the man finally ordered.
Dave looked around again for a while before strong hands seized him. They lifted him with the chair and proceeded down the stage.
He could feel the heat and could smell the gas escaping from the burning oil as they moved closer to the pot. He closed his eyes firmly as the men lifted him, less than a metre away from the pot.
He remembered Cole’s last words to him again. Cole’s wish was not going to come true.
To be continued.