Bexford Extension, Bethanna.
“Sure it’s this place?” Henry asked as he pulled over to the side.
“Yes, it is.” Wilson replied, looking up at the huge building close to the spot the vehicle was parked.
They both stepped out of the vehicle and stood side by side, Wilson stared at Henry’s face while Henry stared at the buildings they were heading to.
Four different large storey buildings formed a rectangle on the land, facing each other inwards except for the first building whose entrance faced the road. The gate was at the centre of the building, a few metres opened space above the slab of the first floor. It was called the Nanl Territory, believed to be a “city” on it’s own inside the Piel City. It was the community of the notorious Nanl Group, a group of thugs and touts which managed to function somehow legally. As expected, it was occupied by hardened men and few women most of who had been convicted of or the other and had spent part of their lives in prison. In that Nanl Territory lived Tanko, the man Wilson claimed had come to take Morris from the house.
“Louis…” Wilson called and wanted to say something but Henry interrupted.
“Call me Michael,” Henry put in sharply.
“Oh! Sorry, Michael…” Wilson faked a smile. It was going to be difficult sticking to that name for he had known him as Louis ever since they met. “Ermm… Tanko warned me the last time I saw him, never to talk to him or ask about Morris from him.”
Henry glanced at his face. “Isn’t it Tanko who came with the two other men to take Morris?”
“Yes, he is.” Wilson answered affirmatively. He was so unsure of what they were about to do, Louis was about to enter into the Lion’s Den. He knew Louis was strong and had seen him take one or two persons down on more than one occasions but this time around, they were going to look for Tanko, an ex convict in the place where he had his other dangerous friends in surplus.
Henry glanced at Wilson’s face again and took in a breath. Wilson had finally agreed to help him find Morris after a lot of pressure. He had told him that one of the other reasons Morris had wanted to leave was to treat his bad health. Wilson had not given more explanation about Morris’ bad health and had left Henry to wonder what kind of health situation could have moved his friend Rex to go into hiding.
“Let’s go in,” Henry said, he glanced at the place again and then returned his gaze to Wilson’s face. “I’ll be doing the questioning, all you have to do is behave like my victim.”
Wilson raised a brow. He had thought Henry was contemplating not to go in any longer all the while he stood staring thoughtfully. He followed Henry hesitatingly.
“Hey! I’m Michael, I need to see someone.” Henry introduced as he got to the grid gate. A man was sitting on a plastic chair behind the gate and smoking a cigarette.
“How can I help you boy?” the man who seemed to be absent minded replied after taking another drag, he didn’t take more than a glance at Henry.
“I want to see someone inside, his name is Tanko.” Henry answered.
The name mentioned seemed to catch the man’s attention as he turned slowly and squinted at Henry’s face.
“You wanna see Tanko? Has he called you to come?”
“No, but I need to see him urgently.”
The man relaxed back in his seat and took in another drag. “Bleep off man, Tanko doesn’t entertain unexpected visitors here…” he paused and turned again to Henry. He sized him up with his eyes from head to toe and hissed. “He only entertains men who comes with money and I don’t think you’ve got any reasonable amount with you.”
The man sat back and continued to smoke without looking at Henry again.
“Hey man! Let me in quickly, I need to see Tanko urgently.” Henry said in a strong tone.
Wilson touched Henry gently on the arm, his eyes full of fear. He seemed to want to pull him away for them to leave.
“Hey! Get the hell up and let me in now,” Henry shouted louder and aggressively, grabbing the steel rods and shaking violently.
The man gazed at him again, looking surprised at Henry’s display of force. He felt irritated as he stared into the eyes under the face cap wondering who he thought he was that he believed he was man enough to shout or behave as a nuisance at the territory gate.
“Bleep you man,” he cursed with a frown on his face. “Put your hand in and unlock it yourself,” he said in anger and threw the cigarette left in his hand on the floor.
Henry put his hand through where the man pointed and found the bolt. He opened and pushed it in, he stepped aside and nodded for Wilson to enter.
Wilson stood and stared at him with fear in his eyes, pleading silently for Henry to change his mind and let them leave.
Henry stepped in without waiting for Wilson anymore. He stopped in front of the man seated and stared him in the eye. The man also stared back at him boldly.
Henry suddenly grabbed him by the neck and dragged him up.
The man was helpless as Henry’s grip on his throat was stronger than he expected, he held on to Henry’s hand with his hands, struggling to breathe.
“Never you waste my time again,” Henry said to him before throwing him to the side.
Wilson watched in fear and then stepped in afterwards, he followed Henry slowly as he proceeded through the entrance.
About five men gathered together and began to move towards Henry, having seen what had happened at the gate.
“Who the hell are you?” the man at the center asked angrily as they stopped two metres in front of Henry.
All five men were heavily built men except for the one who stood at the right end.
“I’m here to see Tanko,” Henry replied them, ignoring their question.
“What the bleep!” the man’s face got filled with rage as he wondered what kind of audacity Henry had. He had not just walked in but troubled the man at the gate and still had the boldness to ask of Tanko without answering the question of who he was. “You’re going to get your freaking butts out of here now if you don’t want to get beaten blue black.”
Henry’s eyes glanced around the place for a second. They had gone past the middle of the first building and could now see the inner space between the four sides, it was quite bigger than he expected. He could see many structures including kiosks, water tanks, few cars and other things in the vast land area.
He let out a brief smile when he saw them staring Wilson who was behind at his right hand side, he stretched out his hand in his direction.
“Direct all your grievances to me, he’s just a victim I forced him to come here with me.” Henry said and then placed his hand down again. “Now, get Tanko for me or take me to him if you prefer that.”
The men stared at him, surprised at his persistence. The one at the middle made a signal with his head for the man at the left end to attack Henry. The man launched forward immediately, immediately followed by another.
Henry grabbed the man’s thrown fist easily with his right hand and twisted the hand, he delivered a punch into side of the man’s belly twisting his ribs and causing discomfort through his whole body. The second man attacked and Henry caught his wrist and slammed him hard with his palm on the chest after which a kick in the belly followed. He dodged a blow from another man by bending and moving forward swiftly, he grabbed the man by the arm close to the shoulder over his back. He met another one with a kick to the chest before flipping over the man whose hand he held, slamming him to the floor.
He dodged a punch from the man who did the talking and delivered an accurate uppercut to his jaw, he followed up quickly with a blow to his neck and kick to the g—n. The man who looked less muscled charged towards Wilson but Henry turned quickly and caught him by the collar from behind. He dragged him back and grabbed his neck, he raised him and slammed him to the ground.
More attention was drawn to the scene and many other men around in the place, stopped what they were doing to watch what was going on. Few of the men dropped what they were doing and began to step closer to the fight scene while many others just watched from where they were.
By the time Henry raised his head after slamming a fourth man to the ground, he found a different set of men already forming a semi-circle around him, this time weapons like rods and planks with them while the others only tightened their fists.
Henry raised both hands slowly in a surrendering fashion and took two steps back.
“Gentlemen,” he spoke out loud, his eyes moving from one angle to another. “I’m not here to cause any trouble, I only have one request which is to see Tanko. So, please bring Tanko out or take me to Tanko.”
He looked from left to right for seconds and no one seemed to be ready to give him a response. He saw few of the men he had beaten already getting up and stepping aside for the other men to receive their own beating.
“Gentlemen, I repeat. Bring Tanko here or take me to Tanko,” he spoke out loud again.
He was given no verbal response. Instead, a man obviously filled with rage led the attack towards him and others followed.
“Step aside,” Henry said with a hand gesture to Wilson as he took a step back to prepare him for the attack.
He bent to dodge a rod and followed with a heavy punch to the belly of the man. He turned to the left quickly and delivered a quick to the chest of another man. He grabbed one’s neck from behind and twisted, he bent forward and slammed the man’s back on his knee, breaking the man’s backbone.
The breaking of bones continued for about five minutes more. After many had been injured and some rendered unconscious, the men began to pull back slowly from Henry.
Henry dusted his palm and watched them as they stepped back. He noticed a man dressed more neatly than the others, coming closer to him from the left with two men following behind him closely.
“You want to see Tanko,” the man asked, stopping some metres away from Henry.
“Yes,” Henry replied briefly, glancing back at Wilson to confirm if the man standing in front of him was the Tanko they came for.
“He awaits you, follow me.” the man said and turned immediately with the two others.
Henry nodded to Wilson that it was time to proceed further.
The men cleared the way for them as they followed the new men into the building. They were led through the stairs to the second floor of the building and they walked past a couple of doors and windows on the corridor before they got to a unique door made of aluminum.
The men stepped to the other side while the man leading opened the door for Henry to enter. Henry stared at his face for a second and then gestured with his hand for the man to lead the way in instead.
The man chuckled and proceeded in with the two others and stopped close to the door to allow Henry in. Henry stepped in slowly with Wilson behind him.
His eyes moved around the large room quickly. It looked more like a sitting room but the furnitures were only concentrated at the centre, there was so much space left around. The room was about a total of a seventy squared metres, ten centimetres long and seven centimetres in width.
The wall at the end had two well spaced windows covered with beautiful curtains and beside the windows were two men, one at the end side of each, standing like security men. Henry noticed they had guns with them, unlike the other men he met before coming up. The sitting area of the room took less than half of the total area. Two men were sitting there, one on the long sofa and another on the adjacent seat. The one on the long sofa had one of his legs placed on the sofa, his right elbow was resting on top of the backrest with a bottle of beer in his hand. The other man was busy with the phone in his hands. They both stared towards the entrance when Henry stepped in.
Henry glanced at the face of the man who led them, expecting him to lead them to Tanko but he only signaled with his hand for them to proceed further.
“He’s the one with the phone,” Wilson whispered as he moved closer to him.
Henry walked slowly and confidently, closer to the men. Their eyes were on him as he approached them while Henry kept his eyes on Tanko as he got to the area.
“I’m here to see you Tanko,” Henry said, without mentioning any greeting word. He took a glance at the other man and then settled his gaze on Tanko’s face again.
Both men were well dressed, unlike most of the other touts outside the place. The only thing that looked unkempt was the dreadlocks on the hair of the man with the bear. Tanko himself was on low cut but had long beards and moustache.
“I don’t know you,” Tanko said with a frown on his face as he squinted at Henry’s face. He locked his phone and kept it on the next one seater sofa. “You caused a lot of trouble here today and you’re someone I’ve never met.”
“They tried to stop me from seeing you and got the punishment for their behavior, ” Henry said with a chuckle. He moved into the sitting area. “Can I have a seat?” He asked, already standing in front of the one seater sofa directly opposite Tanko and about four metres away from him.
“I don’t know you, I don’t entertain strangers here, you have to go straight to your reason for being here.” Tanko replied.
Henry hissed. “Well, I don’t need your permission,” he said aloud to himself and sat. He looked back and beckoned on Wilson to step forward and also sit.
He noticed the men who had led them in were now standing at the entrance like the men at the window.
“So, you don’t know me but do you know him?” Henry asked, pointing at Wilson who refused to sit but stood behind him.
Tanko squinted at Wilson’s face for a while. “The young man looks familiar but sadly I don’t keep faces of acquaintances for long. Who’s he and who the bleep are you?” He turned his gaze slowly back to Henry’s face.
“My name is Michael and I’m here for a simple reason, for you to lead me to Morris Caleb,” Henry stated at once.
A look of surprise appeared on Tanko’s face immediately he heard the name and he looked again at Wilson’s face.
“You?” He frowned hard at Wilson after being able to recognize who he was.”What the bleep do you think you’re doing? Didn’t I warn you before?”
“Lead me to Morris Caleb and leave the young man alone,” Henry said in a strong tone when he realized Tanko was shifting attention to Wilson.
“I have no idea where the bleep he is,” Tanko said blankly, staring at the Henry’s face.
Henry glanced at Wilson’s face and then slowly returned his gaze to Tanko’s face.
“I’ve got no time to waste Tanko, I need you to find him quickly.” Henry said.
“No, you need to get the bleep outta here now.” Tanko said as he pulled out his gun. He cocked it and pointed it at Henry. He suddenly raised his eyes to Wilson again with so much anger in them. “And you, do you think I’m not going to punish you for bringing him here to me?”
“I forced him to bring me here, the same way I’m about to force you to take me to Morris.” Henry replied confidently.
“You’re insane and you’re going to bleeping get out of here now before I change my mind,” Tanko said and got up angrily from his seat. He stretched out his hand further, aiming the gun at Henry’s forehead.
“Take it easy man, even if you kill me, it won’t make you escape taking us to Morris,” Henry said as he lifted his hands up in surrender. “More of my people would still come after you.”
“What the bleep!” Tanko frowned his face. The other man who was busy with his beer bottle suddenly became more interested in their conversation after hearing about more of Henry’s people. He put his feet on the floor and exchanged glances with Tanko.
“Who the hell sent you here?” Tanko’s friend asked.
Henry moved his gaze to the man’s face. “This is none of your business homeboy, except you know where I can find Morris Caleb.”
“You’re an idiot!” Tanko’s friend said angrily and also pulled out a gun.
Henry seemed unruffled by the situation but Wilson was already trembling greatly.
“Being an idiot doesn’t stop both of you from getting forced to take me to Morris,” Henry replied confidently.
“Hey guys!” Tanko beckoned on the men at the entrance. The three of them answered him hurriedly. “Come, take this man to Terror, tell Terror to discipline him until he he confesses who he came from and who sent him. I’ll join you there in few minutes.”
All three men took out their guns and pointed down at Henry, the man who had led him to the place ordering him to get up.
Henry got up slowly, still with his hands raised in the air. He turned and moved in direction of the door where he was pointed. He stopped and looked at Tanko’s face again, the gun was still raised. He turned back and walked slowly, conscious of the men pointing their pistols at his back.
They led him out of the room and towards the staircase which they came up through. This time, he was asked to climb up the stairs leading to the upper floor. He stopped as he raised his foot to climb the first step of the stairs, he dropped his foot and turned his neck sideway, his eyes squinted as if he remembered something.
“Move,” the man behind him shouted.
“I need to tell Tanko something important,” he said, turning back slowly to look at the men.
“Move my friend!” the man shouted at him and Henry turned back immediately.
Henry lifted his foot as if to climb the stairs but instead turned and delivered a kick to the g—n of the man at the center, extending both hands to catch the wrists of the two others by the sides pointing their guns.
The men were taken by surprise and Henry made it more difficult by holding their hands in a way their grip on the gun loosened and their fingers could not easily touch the trigger.
He sent another kick with his knee to the man’s face as he held the hands of the two others wide apart. He landed a third kick on the man’s chest to send him crashing to the ground.
The man on the right swung a blow but Henry dodged and hit him in the chest with his forehead. He left him to stagger back while he pulled the third man closer and delivered two blows to his belly. He gripped him by the belt and lifted him up, he slammed him on the man who had fallen and was trying to rise up.
He kicked the hand of the third man just as the gun was raised and followed up quickly with two kicks, one on the chest and the other on the face. He dragged the man by the hand closer to himself and pulled him, swinging him towards the other two men. The man fell just beside the two others and tried to get up immediately but he raised his head to receive a kick on his face. Henry moved closer and pulled him up, he dealt him two more blows on the face before taking the pistol from his hand. He picked the second pistol that had fallen from the hand of the second man and then picked the leader up and dragged him towards the handrail of the stairs, placing his back against it. He bent him forward and kicked him twice in his belly. He took the gun from his side and put it in his front pocket. He pulled him closer and then pushed him against the wall, making him fall and roll down some steps on the stairs to the lower floor.
He took a quick look at the men on the floor again before proceeding quickly to the room. He stopped to listen when he got to the door and heard Tanko shouting furiously at Wilson.
“I swear he forced me here, I didn’t agree to bring him here…” Wilson was trying to explain when Henry barged in. He fired two quick shots immediately to the men at the window side and fired another shot to the shoulder of the man sitting on the long sofa as he was trying to pick his gun.
Tanko who was holding Wilson by the neck against the wall released him and stepped back. He had left his revolver on the centre table. He stared in awe as Henry moved straight to him.
Henry grabbed him by the neck and slammed his back to the wall, putting him in the same position he had put Wilson but with a stronger grip.
“Now, you’ve gotta tell me everything about Morris’ whereabouts. Would you?” Henry asked in a strong tone.
“Ye…ss,” Tanko wheezed. He could barely breathe as Henry’s fingers were fastened so tight on his neck.
Henry loosened his grip on the neck a bit to allow for air and also let him talk.
“So, where can I find Morris right now?”
“I…” Tanko was about to talk when Henry suddenly turned and fired a shot into the chest of the man sitting on the long sofa.
Tanko opened his eyes in shock, wondering how Henry had been able to know without turning that the guy had picked the gun and was about to shoot.
“I know where to find him,” Tanko said after Henry stared him in the eyes. “But it might be a little difficult.”
“You’d take me there,” Henry said and pushed Tanko forward. He signalled for Wilson to follow and he proceeded towards the door, holding Tanko by the collar and pointing the gun to side of his head.