April 2, 2016
El Deols, Anthanna.
“Hey Sheila, you’re here again!” Adrian widened his eyes as she walked into the ward. His friend who was sitting on the chair beside the bed also turned back to look at her.
Adrian was sitting with his back resting against the headboard. He had plate of food in front of him and a spoon in his hand. He was bare chested, the bandage around his chest had been taken off but a spot was still covered with a plaster.
“Good morning Adrian,” She smiled at him and also waved at the guy sitting on the chair. “Hello James.”
Sheila was dressed in a black trouser suit a sky blue inner shirt. She held a blue coloured handbag in her hand.
“Good morning Sheila,” Adrian replied and he took in a deep breath, the scent of the perfume from her body filling his nostrils. She looked stunningly beautiful as usual that morning and also smart in her suit. “You look stunning as ever this morning,” he managed to say.
“Thank you,” she smiled and put a hand on his shoulder as she leaned closer to him. “So, I see you’re doing better this morning.”
“Sure, I am better.” Adrian smiled. “Thank you so much Sheila, the doctor said you paid the bill.”
‘Yeah, I had to do that. He said we had to pay something for your treatment to continue.”
“Thank you so much for doing that,” Adrian smiled. “Please let me get your account details for me to return the money.”
Sheila raised her brows at him. “Why do you need to do that?”
He frowned back at her. “Of course, I need to do it. You paid when I was unavailable but now I can pay back, you shouldn’t be paying my bills.”
“I won’t accept it, you don’t need top return it.”
“Shh…” Sheila hushed him and held his lips lightly with her thumb and index finger. “I’m not here to discuss, I just came to check that you’re okay this morning, I’ll see you later in the day.”
She turned back and proceeded to the door after that.
“Hey Sheila!” Adrian suddenly called back.
She turned and stared at him.
“Ermm…The doctor says I can leave today,” he said quickly.
“Oh!’ she took some steps back towards him. “What time is he allowing you leave?”
“He says after the evening check up,” Adrian answered.
“I’ll close early enough to take you home,” Sheila offered.
“You don’t need to bother,” Adrian objected quickly. “James here would take me home.”
Sheila squinted and slowly moved her gaze to James’ face. She turned it back to Adrian again and put on a mischievous smile. “No Adrian, I’ll take you home this evening. James can come along with us if he wants.”
With that, she turned and walked out of the ward. Adrian watched her speechlessly until she walked out of the room.
“Sheila likes you already,” James said as soon as Sheila was out and he returned his gaze to his friend.
Adrian shrugged. He didn’t know what to believe, she was acting the exact opposite of her words.
Fox Corporation Headquarters,
EPA Hill, Bexford
“So, you won’t need me to do this again?” Lydia asked.
They were in Steve team’s investigation room. This day, there were long stools around the table and they were sitting on them, five agents in the room. They had been sitting together and discussing for over ten minutes.
“For now, we have to face searching for the culprit’s possible locations first, after that we can come back to the next step you’re expected to take.” Steve replied.
“So, that means I’m free to go back to work?” Lydia asked.
“Yes, you are free. Thank you Agent Lydia,” Steve appreciated with a gentle nod and a smile.
Lydia got up calmly from the stool. She tapped Dan on the shoulder and Sandra on the back on her way out of the room.
“Hey guys,” Steve called the attention of the other three after they watched Lydia stepped out. “We’ve got to solve this quick and make things easy for ourselves,” he paused and directed his gaze to Evelyn. “You’ve got to continue your trail on Daysman, we’ve given him enough space and he should have started making other moves already.”
“I suggest you permit me to find a way to get into his farm and work from inside,” Evelyn said.
Steve heaved a sigh, it wasn’t the first time she was making the request but he was yet to agree with her because he had thought over it and was not sure if it was the right step to take at that moment.
“I’ve been doubtful about that because getting involved through the Suntan farm would consume your whole time and it might be difficult to get you to sit with us like this,” Steve voiced his fears.
“But if we want to get quick results, we may need to divide our focus that way.” Evelyn replied him. “The five of us here may need to focus on investigating the different personalities involved separately.”
“I think I agree with her,” Dan put in. “If we let her focus on Daysman and forget about the others, she would come out with better results quicker.”
“And Dan could also focus on investigating Agent Elkim’s death while I focus on Richard Brad’s and you boss focus on getting Stanley back,” Sandra contributed.
Steve remained silent, squinting at the table. Their suggestion made perfect sense but was risky. He did not want to take any step that would get him into another trouble with Paul Edwards or the executives.
“Well, I’m focusing on Daysman. He’s been walking around the streets free for so long and we’ve got to nab him,” Evelyn said in a stubborn tone, after waiting for Steve’s response for more than a minute without getting it.
Steve glanced at her and tried his best to conceal a chuckle, the look on her face somehow gave him the confidence that the proposed plan was going to work. He remembered the last time she had stubbornly led the others to do something without his consent, it had gotten all of them into trouble with the executives but had yielded maximum results ultimately.
“We’re good to go, we’d take the them individually for seven days, ” Steve finally said. “After seven days, we must converge back here with results.”
“We need to break into separate teams…” Dan put in but got interrupted by Steve.
“I’ll make a provision of a four man team for all of us, each of the four men would consist of two each from our remaining six men,” Steve said. “The most important thing is that we come back here after seven days with results and no stories.”
Kebba, South Husan
Much more than they expected, the people were so busy making arrangements for the festival. Apart from the initial attention they got when they stepped in first, they barely got any attention as they moved in further. The place was so large and crowded with people hurrying to get things done that no one had time to check another.
Far away at the left side, they could see people arranging chairs around a large field. At the center of the field was a structure which looked like a stage, clean and well decorated. Little children could be seen running around happily and pursuing each other on the structure.
After walking for about five minutes, Henry stopped and looked around quickly. The place was so busy that he found it difficult to decide which direction to go or whom to ask questions from.
“What way do we go boss?” Samantha stopped beside him and asked, as if she could read his mind. She also looked around but had to put her palm above her eyes to shield them from the sun which was already out and scorching. Henry was putting on his face cap and that made it easier for him to look around in the sun without difficulty.
“Let’s talk to those guys,” Henry answered, pointing in the right direction where some men were under a tent, they seemed to be doing some handwork there.
Henry and the other two proceeded to meet the men under the tent. The men already spotted them coming and kept their eyes on them.
“Good morning guys!” Henry greeted with a smile.
They stared back at him unsmiling, as expected by Henry. He managed to keep the smile on his face.
“Ermm… English, does any of you understand English?” Henry asked, just to be sure.
None of them answered, instead they glanced at each other’s faces and stared again at him.
“I need to see Ovil Matuse,” Henry went straight to the point, hoping they would be able to know what he wanted on hearing the name.
As expected, the expression on their faces changed when they heard the name and they paid more attention to him.
“Ini ndinofunga vanhu ava vari kutsvaga Ovil Matuse,” One of the men said to the others sitting behind him. In English, he said “I think these people are looking for Ovil Matuse”.
“Handifunge kuti ivo vane pfungwa yezviri kuitika nhasi,” another man replied him meaning “I don’t think they have an idea what’s happening today.”
After that, the men continued with their work quietly as if no one was standing before them.
“Sirs, I’ll like to see Ovil Matuse,” Henry repeated after watching them silently for close to a minute.
The man in front stopped his weaving and looked up again, directly at Henry’s face. He turned back to the other men.
“Aya vanhu vanozoita nezuva rakaipa kana vasingabve,” he said in a sad tone and shook his head. He looked at Henry’s face again and continued with his work silently.
“Unotaura chokwadi,” two men behind voiced out in unison, stating that they agreed with what the man told them. He had said in his language that the day was going to be bad for the visitors if they do not leave.
“Does anyone speak English?” Henry asked in a frustrated tone after a moment of silence but they continued to ignore him. He turned back to his team and shook his head, his eyes scanned around for some minutes and he located a brick building close to them. It looked like a residential building and he could see a man and a woman standing outside, dressed in the same type of clothing and speaking to each other. “Let’s go to that house,” Henry said, pointing to the place. “This people seem too busy for us.”
They proceeded together to the brick house and met the man about to enter the house while the woman turned to sit on a bench under the shade outside the building.
“Good morning here,” Henry greeted in a loud voice, wanting to call the attention of the man who was about stepping in. The man turned back and squinted at him.
He took some steps back and glanced at his wife who was also looking at him.
“Do you understand English?” Henry proceeded to ask. The couple remained silent, staring at them. “English! I mean can you speak it?”
They stared back like morons in response and Henry slightly shook his head in frustration. He placed his hands on his waist tiredly and turned to his team, looking at their faces to see if they had any suggestion for him but they looked as frustrated as he was.
“Let’s ask these men,” Samantha suggested, turning back towards the road path. Some mature looking men, five in number, all looking neatly and expensively dressed were walking in their direction.
Henry turned quickly and walked with his men to the road side.
“Good morning!” He greeted the men in a loud voice even before they got close. The men noticed them and reduced their walking pace.
“Good morning!” Henry greeted again when he got closer but they all stared at him without responding. Henry decided to proceed with his enquiry since they were giving him attention. “I’m here looking for Ovil Matuse.”
The expression on the men’s faces deepened on hearing the name and they stared at each other wondering who understood what the stranger had said. After glancing at each other, they all glanced at the man standing behind as if they expected him to interpret the language.
The man stepped forward. He was of a fair complexion and a slightly round face. His nose was flat, his eyes were a bit bulgy and lips were darker than his skin. He had a white keffiye on his black garment. His belly protruded unattractively behind the garment.
“Unotaura chokwadi,” the man turned to his men and told them. They turned back to him and fastened their eyes on him.
Henry felt a bit relieved that the men seemed to be ready to listen to him.
“Chii chaari kuda?” another man spoke, asking the one in front what the stranger wanted.
“He’s here to see Ovil Matuse,” the man in front replied in the Kebban language.
“You here to see Matuse?” The man asked Henry to confirm.
Henry and his team were finally able to breathe after hearing the man speak. Even though it was bad English, they had hopes of being able to communicate.
“Yes, Ovil Matuse.” Henry affirmed.
“Vari pano kuti vaone Ovil Matuse,” The man turned to speak to his friends, confirming that the strangers were really there to see Ovil.
“You know what happen today?” The man turned and asked Henry.
“Uhn?” Henry found it difficult to understand the question.
“Today, something happen, you know it?” The man repeated again in a more aggressive tone.
“Ermm… Festival!” Henry answered with a lit smile. “Week of consecration festival.”
“Oh ho!” The man smiled and turned to his friends. “Vanoziva isu tine mutambo unoera nhasi,” he spoke in his language, telling them the strangers knew the event happening.
Another man turned to the interpreter with a frowned face. “Saka, ivo vari pano kungokonzera dambudziko,” he said in a serious tone.
The men glanced at each other’s faces. The last man who spoke had said “They know it’s a week of consecration and they still came to spoil it.”
“Follow us,” the interpreter said to the strangers and turned, he signaled to another man who turned with them while the other three continued in the direction.
Henry and Samantha had noticed the frown on the face of the man who spoke the Kebban language last and had exchanged glances. They knew he didn’t say something pleasant. As they followed the interpreter, they readied their minds for anything that could happen.
After five minutes walk down the path, they got a very large building, very large compared to the other buildings seen in the Home Of Sacrifice.
Many young men could be seen around, dressed in a different way from the normal pattern of dressing. They were without Keffiyes, all of them with smooth shaven heads. They had white clothes tied round their bodies and hanging perpendicularly from their shoulders.
Henry looked around as the men led them through a corridor in. They passed through a room where they saw ten middle aged men sitting on a mat in a circular pattern, all dressed like the young men they saw on their way in. A circle drawn with substances like white powder was at the center and a white pot filled with water at the center of the circle.
The men were holding hands and their lips could be seen moving but nothing could be heard. None of them seemed to notice the people passing by.
The men led Henry and his team further into the house until they got to a very large room where some men were sitting and discussing.
“Tine vashanyi pano,” the interpreter said as he led the strangers towards the men.
“Varipi pano?” The oldest men among them replied.
“Vari pano kuti vaone Ovi Matuse,” the interpreter said back.
The men stared at the strangers’ faces for a while before the oldest man spoke again.
“Vanoziva here mutambo wedu?” he asked looking at the interpreter’s face.
The interpreter gave him a response and the old man stared at the strangers’ faces again before saying something else to the interpreter.
“Ndichaita sezvawataura,” the interpreter bowed slightly and turned. “Follow me, he says I take you in.”
Henry also bowed to the men in the same manner the interpreter did before he turned, Samantha and Wilson followed his example.
The interpreter led them out of the room through another door and they proceeded through a corridor into another section.
“Tora zvombo zvako uye gadzirira kuendesa murume uyu kujeri,” the interpreter said in a loud voice and all the men sitting around got up quickly and began to move. “Come,” he said and led the strangers through another door into another room.
He stopped at the center of the room and turned to the strangers. “Wait,” he said.
Henry frowned and glanced at Samantha’s face, their eyes met.
“Why? Are you taking us to Ovil?” Henry questioned the man.
“Wait!” The man repeated in a harsh tone.
Before Henry could speak again, the door opened from the back and men with weapons like swords and spears began to step in. They formed a circle around them as the interpreter stepped away.
“They taking you to the prison, enjoy very well,” the interpreter said in an evil grin and then proceeded to the door.
“What?” Henry exclaimed loudly. “We’ve not done anything wrong, we are only here to see Ovil Matuse, we have come in peace and mean no harm for anybody here…”
The interpreter shut the door after stepping out without waiting to listen to Henry.
Henry heaved a sigh and looked around. The men surrounding them were about eleven and they are closing in slowly. There was nothing he could do at that moment, the weapons were raised and the sharp edges were pointed towards them.
He looked at Samantha’s face and could see a worried look. Wilson standing beside her was already trembling visibly.
The men grabbed them from behind, placing the sharp edge of the weapons behind them. A door at the front was opened and the men pushed them towards the door.
Henry wondered what they had done wrong and what it was that Ern had not told them.
Indeed Ern had missed out something, not because he wanted to but because he himself did not know. Ovil Matuse was one of the ten men supposed to be ordained as a new priests that day and until the ordination, they were not supposed to have anything to do with anyone and anything that was unclean or that did not participate in the week of consecration for it would be regarded as a sacrilege. That was what the strangers had insisted on doing, they had insisted on seeing the son of the high priest and make him commit the sacrilege. It was considered a crime.