Location : Gege Slum
Cole pulled up in front of the one story building where he lived. He parked just beside his neighbour’s car and stepped out of the vehicle. He walked back to the gate and locked it from behind. He returned again to his Toyota Corolla and opened the backseat. He picked out a backpack and hung it on his left shoulder. He closed the front door and locked securely before he proceeded to his apartment, a two bedroom flat with the entrance at the side of the building.
He climbed up the balcony and turned on the outside bulb from the switch beside the door. He took out his key and inserted it into the keyhole. He was about to turn it but he paused. He took out the key and inserted it again. He squeezed his face as he noticed something was wrong. He took out the key again and stepped back to check the keyhole. He brought out his phone and turned on the flashlight, then he bent and pointed the light to see the keyhole, he closed an eye and peeped in with the other.
He quickly rose up and looked around to check for signs of burglars visiting the place, he saw none. He bent again to check the keyhole. It was not as tight as it ought to be, a sign that someone had put in something wider than the key in his hand in a trial to open it. He looked around again, there was no one in sight. He dipped the key into the hole again and turned twice, the door opened. He pushed it in and waited at the entrance for a while. He looked around once more to check if any one was in view before he pulled out his pistol from the backpack and proceeded into the house with his phone held as a torch in the left hand.
He turned on the light immediately he stepped into the house and reached where the switch was.
“D–n it! Who the hell are you?” He pointed his gun at a strange man he found sitting at the center of his three seater sofa. The man had his two hands raised in the air already, to signify that he was harmless.
“Who the hell are you and what are you doing here?” Cole asked again. The man was putting on a face cap and was yet to look up.
Henry raised his face up gradually and stared at Cole in the eyes. He lowered his right hand slowly and picked his face cap from the center off his head with his thumb and index finger. He dropped the face cap on top of the backrest and raised back his hand.
“Hey! I’m a friend,” Henry finally spoke with a smile. He watched Cole frown and moved slowy towards him. “Ermm… Not a friend yet but I mean you and I can be good friends if you allow.”
“Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“You can call me Henry, I’m here to meet with you, I’ll like us to be friends.” Henry replied.
Cole felt there was something sinister about this man. “No one becomes friends with another by breaking into his house,” he replied in an unwelcoming tone. “Tell me what you’re doing here before I’m forced to pull the trigger.”
“You won’t pull the trigger,” Henry said confidently. “I know you well, you won’t pull the trigger at a harmless man.”
Cole squinted. Henry was trying to play mind games with him, he thought. “No one breaks into another man’s house without meaning any harm, so you better start talking.” Cole answered and cocked his gun to show he was serious.
“Calm down mate,” Henry sat up. “I was only trying what I learnt from you by breaking into your house, you also broke into the honorable’s house this past Tuesday.”
Cole squinted at him, shocked at the information Henry just released.
“What the hell are you talking about?” He tried to feign ignorance. He felt Henry could be a police officer or investigator who had been monitoring him.
“I’ve been watching you for the past two weeks, I know you killed the guard men at the honourable’s house and you took the brief case containing cash with you.”
“Does that make sense to you? Brief cases are electronically secured these days, how can I just steal one without being caught?”
“Hehe!” Henry chuckled. “You’re a bad ass hacker, you hack into bank accounts, a brief case is small for you?”
Cole widened his eyes. “Who are you?”
“We can get to know each other better if you only put away the gun.”
Cole shook his head stubbornly.
“I’m not here for a fight, put it down.” Henry urged.
Reluctantly, Cole uncocked his gun and lowered it slowly. He finally returned it into his trouser.
“Don’t try shi*t with me man, you’re in my house.” He sounded a note of warning as he sat on a seat at a safe distance from Henry. “Can you make me understand you now?”
“I’ve been watching you because I have a job I think we can work together, your services as a seasoned developer and hacker would be required.”
“Just tell me who the hell you are first,” Cole snapped at him. “You only told me your name is Henry, how do I start planning a job with someone I bleeping know nothing about?”
Henry breathed in gently. He stared at Cole with raised brows for a moment before he began to speak. “I am not planning to hide anything from you, I would tell you who I am at the right time.”
“The bleeping right time is now!” Cole slammed. “Or you get the hell out of my house.”
Henry did not look ruffled. He adjusted his seating position and locked all fingers of both hands together close to his chest.
“I’m Henry, I live in El Deols for now, you can say I’m someone who has come back to life from death to do something important.” Henry said in soft tones.
“What are you talking about?” Cole asked with a chuckle.
“I died eight months ago but I’m back to make a change and I need you to help me,” Henry replied.
Cole shook his head and wondered if Henry wasn’t sounding stupid to himself. Henry seemed to him like someone who had lost his mind. “How does that sound in your ears?” Cole asked, giggling.
“You don’t have to believe now, just listen to the job I have for you.” Henry replied. “My wife and my son were killed eight months ago when the enemies also tried to kill me, my best friend and his wife and children were also killed.” Henry leaned forward and began to talk. “I want to get justice for my family and that’s why I need your help. By doing this, we would also prevent deaths of other innocent people.”
Cole shook his head and sighed, he was tired of hearing the tale from Henry.
“You haven’t told me who you are yet, you only told me a fairy tale of coming back from the death to life.” He said in an interested tone. “I’m sorry about the death of your wife and child, but I’m not a security agent, you should make a report to the security agencies instead.”
“I would have done that if they aren’t the ones who planned the murders,” Henry replied.
Cole glanced at him. He sighed and shook his head. “Sorry, I can’t help you.” He got up and pulled out his gun again.
“You can,” Henry insisted in a strong tone. He got up to his feet and stood in front of Cole. “I know you’re scared of associating with just anybody because of what you do but you need to know I’m one person that understands you so well. I know why you do what you do. The money you get from what you do is used in helping people who ought to have been helped by those you rob.”
Cole stared at his face again, no one had ever spoken so accurately to him about his intentions.
“Don’t be scared, I’m not an officer here to investigate you, I only need your help.”
Cole sighed. He put the gun back in and stepped back to sit. Henry also returned to his seat.
“So what job are you talking about? You want us to go after those who killed your family and your friend?”
“Yes, that’s why I need you to join me.”
“I need to understand well, you said you were dead.”
“I was shot thrice and left to die, but I survived because someone helped me.” Henry replied.
“So they don’t know you are alive?”
“No one knows I am.”
Cole shook his head gently and took in a breath to assimilate the information.
“I want us to get the killers of my family and friends’ family, those who sponsored them and the security agents who aided them.” Henry continued.
“How are we going to do that?”
“We’d move to Anthanna, all of us and I’ll explain better when you meet the rest of the team.”
“The rest of the team?”
“Yes, the two of us cannot get it done alone.” Henry answered.
“When am I meeting them?”
Henry got up to his feet, he walked to the center table and took out a backpack he had put under. He turned briefly to Cole. “Come with me.”
Cole got up and proceeded with him out of the house.
“We’re going to be using your car,” Henry said as he proceeded down the balcony.
“My car?” Cole raised a brow. He stepped back to lock the door with the key. “Where are we going to?”
“Somewhere around Gege Round About,” Henry replied.
They soon got into the car and on the road. In ten minutes they got to the roundabout and drove a kilometre past the place.
“You can stop here,” Henry said to him as they approached another u-turn.
Cole pulled over and parked behind another car.
“We would walk to the other side and wait, he returns home every night on his power-bike,” Henry said as he opened the door.
“Hey! Who are you talking about?” Cole asked, but Henry already closed the door without listening to him. He got out of the car and locked it before following Henry.
“Who are you talking about?” Cole asked as he leveled up with Henry.
“Cole, the third member of our team.” Henry replied.
“So, I’m the second?”
“No,” Henry stopped and turned to answer. He had just thought about Sheila. “Sorry… Yes, you’re the second.”
He continued walking with Cole by his side.
They turned to the other side and walked some distance. The new street was dark, not every building had security lights outside and some buildings had no signs of electricity. They walked past a medium sized gate before Henry began to talk again.
“This is Dave’s house, he stays at the ground floor. He works as the bodyguard for the Minister of the local government area.” Henry said and tapped on his phone to check the time. “He would be back anytime from eleven o’clock, we have to stick around and wait for him.”
They both waited at the corridor of the store building that had no security light turned on.
“He’s here,” Henry announced at exactly five minutes past eleven.
Cole looked around, he couldn’t see anyone or any vehicle. He was about to ask questions when he looked in the direction of Henry’s stare and he saw a man riding on a power-bike approaching the place.
“Let’s meet with him,” Henry said and stepped out of the corridor.
The man riding the power-bike stopped at the front of the medium sized gate and stepped down from his bike. He parked it temporarily and brought out his key to open the gate. He opened the small entrance first and then stepped into the compound to open the larger entrance from inside.
He pulled out his gun after stepping back out through the larger entrance. Two unknown men were now standing beside his vehicle. One was sitting partially on the backseat of the bike.
“Hey man! We’re your friends,” Henry said with a smile.
“What are you people?” Dave asked, looking at both men’s face.
“I’ve come to give you something to relieve you from your job, I know how much you hate protecting the corrupt minister. So I’m here to enable you submit your resignation letter tomorrow.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I’ve been in the security sector like you Dave, I know what it means to protect someone who specializes in hurting others and living on other people’s sweat.”
“Gentlemen, I don’t know what you’re talking about and I want you to leave this place right away.” Dave replied.
“Do you not also know about the thugs who stopped your Minister on the way on Tuesday when he was on his way to command the demolition of the stores.”
Henry’s words struck a nerve in Dave but he managed to maintain a calm look.
“Gentlemen, you have to leave now or you force me to do what I do not want to do.” Dave threatened.
“It’s okay, we’d leave but I have to warn you about something important,” Henry said as he rose from the bike. “Your Minister has planned your death on your way to South Husan next week, he’s going to make it look like an attack on his life and that you died while trying to save him. That’s why he insisted that only you should follow him.”
Henry made a sign to Cole for them to leave.
“Hey!” Dave called. “How do you know that?” He asked as he lowered his gun. He was the only one the Minister had told about the trip to South Husan.
Henry turned back. “I’ve been watching you for two weeks, and I also watched your boss.”
“How exactly do you know he plans to kill me?”
Henry moved closer to him. “Haven’t you wondered why the CP has told you to give details of your job with the minister to your colleague? It’s because there would be a need to replace you soon,” he answered.
Dave widened his eyes. Henry had told him what a stranger shouldn’t know. He wondered if he should take Henry’s word seriously or if he should take Henry as an enemy planning something bad for him.
“I need you to join me for an important cause, I’ll explain to you if you allow.”
“Explain now, ” Dave said to him.
“Would you at least invite us in?”
“No,” Dave answered, shaking his head.
“Okay, this is it…”
Some days Later
Location: Glory Spring House, Gege Slum
Day: November 21
Glory Spring House, the most beautiful facility in Gege. It was a combination of social centres including recreational spaces, pitches for different sports, restaurants, event halls, a Cinema and a guest house. It was mainly patronized by visitors in the place or passersby during the year. It was usually busy during the holidays and special festival days.
Henry and Cole stood outside the basketball court, watching the basketball training involving both male and female participants. Henry was dressed on a white top and a blue pair of jeans with white sneakers and his face cap while Cole was dressed in all white track suit and black canvas.
Cole was standing at Henry’s right hand side. He had his arms wrapped together across his chest as he enjoyed the game. He was of average height and medium slenderness. He had a fairly dark complexion. His neatly cut Afro hairstyle gave his face a handsome look. He had little beards and no moustache on his oval shaped face.
“I’ve been looking for you two all over,” Dave said as he joined them, standing at Henry’s left.
The two turned their gazes to him.
“Hey man!” Henry hailed. He offered him a handshake and stepped back and looked back briefly at the game to allow Cole also shake him.
“So how did it go?” Henry asked, after they were done exchanging pleasantries.
“Rough,” Dave answered. “It was difficult to convince the CP on why I was resigning, I think he finds me suspicious.”
“What about the minister?” Henry asked.
“He literarily begged me not to leave,” Dave replied. “But I insisted my mind was made up.”
“You did the right thing,” Henry said and patted him on the shoulder.
“I hope I really did,” Dave said, unsure of himself.
Dave was tall but not as tall as Henry. He had almost the same body size as Henry but of a fairer complexion. His face looked tough and rough and he had a small scar at the left side of his forehead which he had gotten while on his job. He was putting on a white T-shirt, a black pair of jean and brown sandals.
Henry stared at his face for a while and he could read all over it Dave’s uncertainty about the future. He was sure the only reason Dave had agreed to resign and follow him was the death plot he had revealed. There was no other reason a person who had a job with manageable income would quit it to follow the cause of a man who was yet to promise them a future.
Cole’s situation was different. It was easier for him to make the decision. He was the boss of his own and could go back to his job at any time.
Henry was however not going to take any of them for granted. He was yet to tell them who he really was. All he had told them was the injustice did to his family and his friend’s family. He knew they were taking a risk for trusting him and he wasn’t going to let them down.
“You said we were going to meet the other two team members here, where are they?” Dave asked Henry.
Henry glanced at him and smiled lightly as he faced forward. He also noticed Cole staring at him. He was sure Cole had the same question in mind and must have been waiting for Cole’s arrival to ask.
“Yes, our other two team mates are here,” Henry replied, putting his eyes focus on the game. “We would meet them soon.”
Both men decided to be patient, expecting that Henry would take action after watching the basketball training.
Henry turned up his wrist to check the time on his wristwatch. “We have less than ten minutes for the training session to end, we would meet our new team mates after that.”
“Are they part of the basketball players?” Cole asked.
Henry looked at his face and chuckled. “One of them is.”
He looked back to see a different scene on the pitch. It seemed like an argument had broke out. Some guys from elsewhere had come into the pitch to attack the basketball coach. The new men numbered up to nine and one of them had a machete in his hands, they circled the frightened basketball coach.
The players seemed to steer off the scene, backing out fearfully and leaving the panicking coach alone with the assailants.
Surprisingly, a young lady ran into the circle and stood protectively in front of the coach. She had on a grey armless top and a navy blue sport trousers, with a white sneakers on her feet.
Henry tried to step into the pitch but Cole grabbed him by the arm.
“That’s Baddo, he and his men are the most dangerous thugs in the slum.” Cole warned.
Henry turned his neck to look at him. “Really?” He raised his brows.
“Henry, no one comes in Baddo’s way, even the police do not come near him.”
“But he looks like he’s gonna butcher someone there. Do we just stay here and watch?” Henry turned his neck to Dave.
“The man he is attacking must surely be guilty of something, Baddo does not attack anybody without a reason.” Dave defended himself.
“Even if he has a reason, he doesn’t have the right to go around punishing people.” Henry insisted. He took Cole’s hand off his arm. “So, is this how you watch while someone is being battered here?”
Henry turned and looked at Cole’s face and then Dave.
“Hey! There’s nothing we can do to help, he’s got eight men with him, we’re outnumbered.” Cole replied.
“Outnumbered?” Henry raised a brow. “What of all these basketball players on the pitch?”
Henry took a look and saw all the basketball players shying away.
“They won’t go near Baddo as you can see,” Dave replied.
Henry looked again at the assailants and the victims at the center of the circle to see if anything had begun. He noticed they were only still talking.
“That’s because you all say that, why hasn’t anyone made a move like the lady in there?”
“She’s gonna get herself trashed,” Cole said with a mocking note in his tone.
“I’m going in to…”
Henry could not complete his statement as he looked to see the combat already started. One of the men who tried to pull the lady away got his hand broken and a punch on the face.
Another man moved closer and threw a kick to her face but she dodged and grabbed his leg, she kicked him on the knee of the other leg and pushed him away. She bent to dodge a blow and threw two punches into the man’s belly. The man threw a blow which she dodged and then punched him twice at the top of his chest before kicking him in the g—n. He let out a yell and fell on his knees grabbing his manhood.
An unexpected blow hit her from behind and she staggered forward but managed to regain balance and turned quickly. The man who punched her rushed towards her with a yell but she met him with a kick on the chest. She landed on her feet quickly, turned and rolled to give him another kick on his face.
A man grabbed her two hands from behind and tried to pin her legs down with his but she struggled and was able to elbow him twice in his belly. She got free and turned quickly to launch an attack but was surprised to see someone who had come to help her.
The tall and heavy muscled man grabbed the man by the neck and twisted it. He released the man and the man dropped to the ground with a broken neck. Without turning, he grabbed the fist of another who tried to punch him from the left. He twisted it and it made a crack noise as the man cried out. He pulled the man closer, grabbed him by the neck and slammed him to the ground. He stood upright, dusted his palms and then adjusted his face cap which had turned backwards.
She looked around and saw that all the men were on the ground, writhing in pain. Her helper must have stepped in so early to help her. She spotted Baddo and one of his men far away watching them frightfully. She located the coach and quickly walked to him.
“Are you okay sir?”
“Yes, thank you.” The coach replied breathlessly.
“Get your bag sir, I’ll walk you to the road to get a taxi.”
She turned back and walked to the man who joined her to fight. She wasn’t sure she would have been able to defeat all of them if left alone. She eyed all the other basketball players who had now returned after running away in fear of Baddo.
“Thank you for stepping in,” she said as she stepped in front of Henry.
“You’re welcome Samantha,” he said with a smile and took her handshake.
She squinted at him and withdrew her hand, wondering how he knew her name.
“Have we met before?” She asked.
“No, but I’ve been watching you for about three weeks now,” Henry replied.
“Oh!” Her eyes caught the coach who had picked up his bag and was ready to leave the pitch. She began to walk towards the coach. Henry followed her. “So, have you been stalking me or you’re just one of those men who have a crush on me?” She asked blankly.
She stopped beside the coach and waited for another basketball player who had gone to help her take her bag.
Henry laughed out at her response. She seemed to be a very bold lady. He noticed Cole and Dave had also come closer.
“You’re very beautiful Samantha, no doubt…” He tried to reply but she cut him short.
“I’m not ready for a relationship,” she said as she took her bag from the team mate and turned to take her leave.
“Haha!” Henry laughed more loudly and followed quietly.
“I’m not here to ask for a relationship like the other guys, I’m married.” Henry replied.
She glanced at him to check for the wedding ring on his fingers. “You lost your ring?” She asked when she didn’t find it.
“My job, it doesn’t let me carry my ring.” He answered.
“Oh!” She exclaimed.
“I actually wanted to see you for something else, something important.” He quickly added.
“What could that be?”
“I can’t say it now, can you meet me in the restaurant after you see him off?”
“I’ve just finished playing ball, I’m dirty.” She complained.
“It won’t take long please, I promise.” He pleaded.
“Is that a way of asking for a date? I thought you said you were married?”
“It’s no date Samantha, these men here are also going to be in the restaurant with us.” Henry said, talking about Cole and Dave who were walking behind them.
Samantha glanced back at them and continued walking.
“Okay, I’ll be back in five minutes.”
“Thank you,” Henry replied and stopped. “We’d be expecting you.”
He turned back to Cole and Dave. He took in a deep breath and he stared at them with some excitement in his eyes.
He waited for Samantha and the coach to walk farther away before he spoke.
“She’s Samantha and she’s also a team mate.”
Dave and Cole nodded their heads. They needed no prophet to tell them that she was perfectly fit to be in their team even though she was a lady.
Twenty minutes later
The four of them sat on a table with a plate of fried rice each in front of everyone except for Samantha who only had a drink. She had insisted on taking a drink only because she needed to wash up before eating.
“So, we’re going to join you in your quest for justice?” Samantha asked.
“Yes, but it’s more than a quest for justice. It’s something you’ll understand better when I introduce you all to the deeper details.” Henry replied her.
“It sounds like it’s gon be interesting,” she said in an America accent. “I’m in.”
Henry let out a light smile and nodded gently.
“Thank you,” he said in soft tones.
She replied with a wry smile.
“You said we had two mates to meet here, she is just one.” Cole cut in.
“Yeah, the other one is right here.” Henry replied and then turned, looking at a lady walking past them towards the kitchen of the restaurant.
“The cook?” Dave and Cole asked in unison.
“Yes, the cook, she made this dish we’re served. We’re going to need someone to help with food, right?” Henry questioned in a cheerful tone. “She’s also good in using guns, I watched her scare off two petty robbers.”
They all watched in silence as Jenny, their new unaware team mate talked to another cook before walking into the kitchen and closing the door.