3pm Afo continued to hit his revolver on his palm in a rhythmic manner as he revolved around the escaping captives.
‘So what were you trying to do?’ He shouted at them. Evelyn clung to Henry’s arm like a scared child. They were surrounded by four armed men who stared at them without pity. ‘How did you cut the ropes and knock out those two guys?’ Afo asked again, taking a look at each of his men. ‘Or did they compromise?’ Afo moved closer to Henry and Tarasha. He placed his gun on Henry’s nose and Henry froze in fear. ‘You’re brave right?’ Afo continued to taunt. ‘I would have killed you right now, but I’ll take you inside first, for two reasons. First, I don’t have a silencer here and secondly, I was ordered to make your death slow and painful’ He pushed Henry backwards on the nose with the gun and moved to Tarasha.
‘Hmm…’ Afo licked his lips wickedly. He placed the gun on her forehead and dragged it down her nose, lips to her neck. He then used his left hand to pull down her jacket’s zip revealing her inner armless top.
‘You seem to have a nice body’ he said as he stared at the curves on her chest. Afo dipped his hand in his pocket and picked out a knife. He placed it on Tarasha’s top and began to cut it downwards. Henry couldn’t stand what his brain was communicating to him, this was the same thing he had seen some years ago and it was replaying again. His sister’s clothes was torn on that fateful day with a knife too, but the difference was that his sister was held by two other men. Then recognition hit him, he remembered Afo. Afo was also one of the men who had joined Dare in assaulting and murdering his sister back in the university.
Hormones rushed into his brain, his eyes was filled with anger and his body vibrated as he tried to hold himself back Afo was getting down to the b—-t level when Henry sent a blow to his hand, making the knife fall off. All eyes turned to him. Afo smiled, surprised by his audacity.
‘B—–d!’ Afo cursed as he sent a blow to Henry’s chest and followed it up by using the butt on his head. Henry lost consciousness immediately. Afo smiled and turned back to Tarasha. She began to move backwards slowly like someone who was deeply terrified. Afo’s boys formed a wall at her back to prevent her from further moment. The look on her face was like that of an helpless child.
‘Please, I’ll give you my body. Don’t hurt me’ she spoke in a pleading manner, trying to buy more time.
‘Let’s go inside and I’ll submit myself to you’
‘I don’t need you to submit yourself or give yourself to me. I’m taking you by myself’ Afo laughed wickedly. He moved close to her and stretched his hand towards her torn inner top. She stopped him with her palm. Surprisingly, he couldn’t push further. It was as if the strength in the girls arm was equal to his own. He felt insulted and motioned his hand to slap her but she dodged. She bent down and delivered an uppercut to his g—n. The huge man fell on one knee, wincing in pain. Tarasha’s defense of her self took Afo’s men by surprise and before they could react properly Tarasha had driven a knife into the big Afo’s right foot, sticking him to the ground and she was holding his neck with another knife close to it.
‘His head would come down if anyone moves or c—s his gun’ Tarasha gave a serious warning to Afo guys who were pointing a gun at her. Blood was already dripping from Afo’s neck as the knife was so close to his skin. Afo made signals to his men with his eyes, scared to talk and deepen the knife’s entrance into his neck. His men gradually began to put down their guns.
‘Good. Bring them over here’ Tarasha motioned one of the guys to pack all the guys and drop the guns close to where she stood. ‘Now remove every other weapon you have with you’ Afo’s men raised up their hands in a surrendering fashion, trying to communicate that they had no other weapon with them. Tarasha stared at them for a moment, scrutinizing their pockets from her point.
‘You’ she signified to the one at the middle with her head. ‘Take out that revolver behind your Jean’ The guy in the middle was shocked, he used his hand to beat his chest to confirm if she was really talking to him.
‘Yes, Idio*t! Take out that revolver inside your trouser. The guy quickly loosened his belt and dipped in his hand to bring out the gun. He threw it where the other guns were and raised back his hands. ‘Now, turn your backs’ Tarasha ordered and the guys turned immediately.
‘Okay…’ She said, searching their bodies with her eyes. ‘Take him into your car’ she ordered them to lift Henry into the car. ‘When you place him at the back, then drive the car down here’ she ordered again, bending down to pick a gun. She stared at them one after the other, she felt the urge to drop each of them. But no, it would only cause more problems. It may get her deeply involved with the police which she needed to avoid. The car was parked right beside her with Henry laid on the back seat. The driver came out and joined the rest of his men whose hands were raised up.
3.20pm Mallam Jefa was surprised at the manner at which the red car who had just driven into his neighbour’s compound drove out of the gate recklessly. The car had just gotten to the front of his shop when it stopped and the new driver, a lady came out of the car. She turned round to check the tyres, the right back one was bad. She entered back into the car and drove off without bothering to change it Jefa rubbed his eyes vigorously, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. ‘Have I seen that lady before?’ He mumbled to himself as he walked out of his store and stood at the side of the road. His customers that were unattended to were already getting surprised at why he abandoned them to peep a car whose movement or owner wasn’t his business.
‘No, it… can’t be’ Jefa mumbled to himself again as his body vibrated all over. Urine began to pass out of his body involuntarily. He raced back into his store and hurriedly rolled out a bike.
‘Mallam Jefa, what are you doing with my bike?’ Someone shouted at him. Jefa ignored and started the engine, he sped off immediately in the same direction the car went.
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Sylvester arrived at the black gate in his car with two police vans at his back exactly by three thirty pm. The police officers jumped off immediately and some rushed to Mallam Jefa’s store. Boys who were smoking, drinking and eating at the store began to run helter skelter to evade police arrest. The officers were able to capture quite a number of them. Some officers had already launched into the building. The compound seemed empty but there were traces of blood and signs of a fight. Three officers proceeded into the building carefully. They saw a body laying face flat, lifeless on the floor. The body was turned upward and the police took note of the bullet sent into the chest.
‘Is he?’ One officer spoke in a very low voice to his companion. The other replied in negative with a wave of the hand.
‘I think the victim was previously tied up here’ another officer said in a low voice, picking up the ropes. ‘But it doesn’t look like it was only one person who was tied up’
‘Maybe this was also one of the victims’ an officer suggested, pointing to the lifeless body with bullet in the chest.
‘I hope not’. The officers began to proceed with caution into the others rooms in the building. Two other men were called to join them from outside the building. A loud groan startled them.
‘Did you hear that?’ An officer asked as the groan came again.
‘Some people are surely inside this house and they’re unaware of our presence.’ The officers dispersed themselves into the other rooms with great determination to find the criminals.
‘Doc, you have to stop that treatment for now’ Audu, a long bearded stout man who was second in command to Afo spoke. Afo who laid on the bed receiving treatment turned to Audu in surprise, demanding an explanation with the look in his eyes. Afo’s neck injury which had cleaned but not bandaged made it difficult for him to turn his head. The Doctor also demanded an explanation.
‘The police are around, they’re in the main building and we could attract them here if we keep making loud sounds’ Afo nodded in agreement. The Doctor turned to Afo,
‘would you try to maintain calm while I treat you?’
‘What the hell is maintain calm?’ Afo slammed at him as he tried to sit up. ‘The injury is so painful, I can’t keep quiet completely. We have to wait for the police to leave’ With that, the Doctor got up from the bedside, picked up his instruments and walked away. Afo turned back to Audu. ‘Is the underground door properly locked?’
‘Yes, it is. The police would never notice that there’s a door there’ Audu replied confidently.
‘I don’t just want them to have a clue that there’s an underground facility’
‘That’s right’ Afo commented, getting up to his feet. He hopped in pain to the fridge and took out a bottle of water.
‘You should have brought those idiots to this place’ Audu spoke after watching Afo gulp down the whole contents of the bottle.
‘I underestimated them’ Afo replied with a tone of regret. ‘I didn’t expect such strength from a girl’
‘It will be difficult to kill them now. They would be more careful and the police would also keep an eye on them’
‘I know, we have to inform Dare to be careful’ Afo picked up his phone and sat back on the bed. His phone rang before he could dial anything.
‘Hello Dare, I was about to call you’
‘Yes, how far Afo?’ Dare’s voice came cheerfully. ‘Did you record their shouts and screams?’
‘I’m sorry Dare, they escaped’ Afo spoke in a pleading manner.
‘They did what???’
‘They are also aware that you’re behind this. So be careful please. I promise to make it up to you’ Afo ended the call without waiting to hear another reply.
‘What’s that?’ Jubril Lawal asked as he walked down the stairs of the duplex. Dare was unaware that he has raised his voice loud enough for someone else to hear.
‘Nothing Dad, nothing.’ Dare put on a fake smile and stood up to welcome his Dad.
‘You’re sure there’s nothing wrong?’ Dare nodded. ‘Then who were you talking to?’ Jubril pressed on. Dare stared at his father, the unwillingness to answer the question was clearly seen on his face. Jubril smiled. ‘Don’t worry son, you don’t need to give me a reply, it’s not my business anyways.’ Dare gave a forced smile. ‘So how’s work?’ The father asked.
‘Fine sir, how about yours?’
‘Fine also’ Jubril smiled again. Dare was feeling uneasy. His Dad’s smiles were unusual and getting too much. ‘You said you wanted to see me’
‘Yes son. It’s my birthday next tomorrow and I’ve decided to organize a banquet’ Jubril paused, allowing Dare to absorb the first part of the information. ‘I’m inviting my friends and business partners. So I want you to work with Debo in organizing the banquet for me’ Dare found it hard to believe what he just heard. He was tempted to almost ask if his father was just marking a joke.
‘You want to organize a banquet?’ He asked softly.
‘Yes son, what do you think?’ Jubril Lawal paused and stared straight into his son’s eyes. …
to be continued