‘Put this on,’ a piece of cloth thrown from outside the car landed on Tara’s face.
The queen had gone into the cloth’s store to get a change of dress for her. She stood outside the car, watching as Tara struggled to put on the cloth. She glanced at her wristwatch again and looked around, it was close to evening already. She waited until Tara had finished putting on the new gown before joining her at the backseat.
‘Let’s move,’ she said to the driver of car who in response kicked on the car engine and drove into the road.
For a moment, Tara felt secured with the queen. She still didn’t understand what took place at the building with the Russian inscription. She thought she was taken there to be molested to death and she expected no escape but was still baffled by the Queen’s intervention to help her.
Several thoughts began to run through her mind, she wondered what would be her fate now that she had escaped death from the hands of those men. She wondered what the most senior Queen who had given her the death judgement would say. She hoped for a pardon but could only envisage another trial to murder her, one which she wouldn’t be able to escape again. The Nefary Clan never forgave one’s sin.
The Queen’s phone beeped and she took it out to answer the call. ‘, what’s up?’ she said into the phone in low tones.
‘Marie Wayne, why did you kill Tom’s men?’
‘They attacked first. So you tell me, where is Tom now?’
‘I don’t know where he is, he hasn’t come to play for a while. He’ll be mad at you,’ replied.
‘No one cares if he’s mad or not, I need to see him.’
‘Don’t see him now, I advise you.’
‘Where is he?’ she asked.
‘I don’t know.’
She paused to think for a moment, she could sense the concern in his reply. ‘What about you , where are you?’
‘At the game house,’
‘May we see right now?’
‘Ermm…’ A deep sigh from ’s side could be heard from the speaker.
‘I’ll be there in ten minutes.’
She hung up the call before he could finish talking.
‘Take us to Evion Game House,’ she said to the driver who nodded in reply.
Tarasha flashed a look at Omotara, the teenager was already dozing off. She closed her eyes briefly and took in a deep breath. She had gone against the Clan’s will by giving the girl a knife to use against the men. If not for the knife, the girl would probably have died or would have been already weakened by the assault of the men before she(the Queen) showed up. Although there was room for her to remain alive but she would have had to defeat the three men with her bare hands and no weapon. The queen wondered what would happen if the clan discovered she had given the girl a weapon. But it wasn’t her fault, she couldn’t resist the helpless look on the little girl’s face who looked to her like a saviour. It meant that the Nefary Clan really never succeeded in killing their emotions and memories totally with the trainings.
10 minutes later
Evion Game House.
The queen walks into a large room where several games ranging from cards, chess, snooker and many others were being played. The gamers include mostly rich middle aged men and very few young men. There was a stage at the front of the hall where scantily dressed girls were dancing to Russian music.
‘Marie,’ was the first to locate the Queen as she stood at the entrance, with the girl’s hand in hers.
He walked briskly from everywhere he was to her and pulled her into a quiet room.
‘Marie, what are you doing here?’ he asked in a stressed tone. His intonation was American, his land of descent. He had migrated into Russia with his parents when he was eighteen and took over the job of managing the game house from his father in-law.
The Queen stared silently for a moment, then she flashed a look at Omotara. ‘Go wait for me in the car,’ she released the girl’s hand and watched her go. ‘, I need a favour from you.’
‘What’s that?’ asked with a frown. ‘Please speak up, you’re not supposed to be here now.’ he hurried her up when she wasted time in replying.
‘That girl, do you like her?’ the queen asked, talking about Omotara.
‘What do you mean?’ his frown deepened.
‘I mean would you like for her to stay here?’
‘What the ****! We don’t do child games here. That girl is little and underdeveloped, what do you want her to do here?’
‘Join your girls to dance, maybe,’ the queen suggested.
‘No, never! She doesn’t have the required body yet. Our men like girls with big busts and butts, not the tiny figure of a minor.’
The queen was speechless for a while. Just few hours ago, some other group of men were craving to have the teenager and this was another refusing the same thing others were lusting for.
‘Can’t you get her to do something for you here?’
‘No, she would be useless here. I don’t want any liabilities.’
‘What about your petty jobs?’ the queen persisted
‘Oh Damn it! She can’t do anything here, don’t you get it?’
‘You’d have to find something for her to do,’ the Queen said in a strong tone, sounding more like a command. ‘Remember, you still owe me some bucks.’
‘I will pay you your *****ng money Marie, just give me sometime.’
‘You take care of the girl until you get the money,’ the queen replied.
‘No, I can’t keep her here. She’s not safe, she’d get molested everyday by different men.’
The Queen stopped to think for a moment. It wouldn’t be wise taking the girl out of trouble to put her in danger again.
‘,’ she called with a smirk. He stared at her face. ‘I will kill you and your old *****ng mother if anything happens to her.’
His face turned sad and helpless. His bones grew weak and his knees trembled.
‘Wait here for her, I’ll send her to you right away.’
sighed and shook his head, staring the queen at the face. ‘Wait!’ he said to the queen as she turned towards the door, he had an idea. She turned back and raised her brow. ‘I know somewhere you can take her to,’ he said.
‘To my friend, Ristoe. His wife sells and employs girls to market her goods.’
The queen took some seconds to consider the option, it seemed like a good one. She bit her lips slightly and looked at his face. ‘I’m going out now, I’ll be back to take her later tonight, make sure you get her some food.’
He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. The Queen was already at the door of the room when he opened his eyes. He wasn’t comfortable with the girl having to stay at all but he was consoled by the fact that Marie promised she was coming to take her back. It was past the eighteenth hour already and it meant the girl would be staying for less than six hours.
Omotara eyes followed the queen as stepped out of the building until she got into the car.
‘Go and meet in the room I met with him, you’ll be safe there until I come back to get you.’ the Queen said to Omotara without looking at her. She was staring blankly like someone lost in thoughts.
Omotara’s heartbeat rose immediately. She thought she was out of trouble already but it seemed she was never going to be free. The Queen which she thought would protect her was sending her into a strange place to stay. She wondered what would happened to her with all the men she had seen in the hall. She remained in her seat, wishing that the knife she got from the Queen earlier was still with her. She would have killed herself immediately instead of going into the place to face torture from another set of cruel men.
‘Go!’ the Queen commanded in a strong tone which depicted urgency and seriousness. Omotara opened the door quickly and stepped out. She began to walk towards the building without looking back. Just before she got to the stairs to the balcony, she heard the sound of their car zooming off and turned back to look, the Queen had gone. Her heartbeat increased, she thought about running away. She looked left and right, there were ways at both sides but she didn’t know which one to take.
She noticed a switch at the wall, it was a large one four times the size of the switch Tara was used to. She looked forward again, the entrance of the building was widely opened. She considered disobeying the Queen’s instructions but remembered what happened when she tried to escape at the ‘mad house’. She didn’t know what the Queen had in store for her now, or what had been put in the cloth she was putting on, maybe it was instant death if she tried to run away this time. She took in a deep breath and stared at the entrance one more time. She had only climbed the first staircase when the man the Queen called appeared at the entrance.
‘You little brat! I’ve been waiting for you, get inside right now,’ shouted at her.
She climbed up immediately and followed his lead until they got into a room which was set like a lounge.
‘Get yourself seated somewhere,’ he said and walked out through another door.
Omotara walked slowly to the first available sofa and sat on it. Her eyes wandered around the room for a moment. It was an ancient facility, the furniture were old but clean, so as the walls; the paint on the walls were almost totally faded.
The sound of music from the game hall could still be heard faintly in the place.
Soon after, a Russian young girl, a little bit older than Tara entered into the place from the exit took, bringing with a tray of food. Omotara’s stomach rumbled as she perceived the aroma, she suddenly remembered she had not eaten for a long while.
2 hours later.
Omotara sat quietly all through after the meal, the same girl had come to take the plates fifteen minutes after. No one talked to her or came close to her, not even her host. He had come into the place several times, most times with other men and once with a woman. No one seemed to give her more attention than just a glance.
However, for about fifteen minutes there had no activity in the place at all. Omotara was more relaxed, she was less afraid of someone hurting her anymore but she wondered if the Queen was coming back for her.
Soon after, the sound of the noisy music from the game hall which was being faintly heard ceased. Omotara was about to conclude that the hall was about to be closed that day when she began to hear some strange sounds. She could detect that they were sounds of people fighting with fists, that was one of the sounds she was very familiar with. Another thing that aided her quick recognition of the sound was that she had also began the course on mastering and differentiating sounds in the Nefary Clan even though she had been doing the course only for a month. The sounds heard became more than sounds of fists but sounds of gunshot now but mixed with screams and shouts of men and women.
She sat there, still unsure of what to do when rushed into the place from the entrance. He rushed towards the exit without looking at her.
Few seconds later, the sound of the gunshots began to come closer. Omotara got up from her seat and ran to the entrance to see what was going on outside. She walked through the passage and rooms that led to the lounge which were empty. She stopped behind the wall of the passage entrance and peeped. She could see some men furiously attacking the gamers in the hall, using guns on some and fists on others. A huge man who seemed to be the leader of the attack looked towards the passage and his eyes met with Tara’s. She froze immediately on the spot, scared to death as the man’s mean face twitched wickedly.
‘Hey guys, follow that little girl there and fetch out for me.’ the guy beckoned on his partners with a shout, pointing to where Omotara was peeping from.
She moved away immediately and ran as fast as she could. The door to the exit which took had been locked before she returned. There was nowhere to run to. She panicked as she looked around for somewhere to hide, she could hear sounds of the men’s footsteps getting closer. She quickly walked to the corner of the lounge where two long sofas placed perpendicularly touched each other at the arm. She entered into the corner and hid herself under the covering and shadow of the two arms.
The men soon got to the lounge and looked around without seeing anything. Omotara remained in the low position without making any attempt to look at the men, she could only hear their voices as they spoke to each other. Most of the men spoke English but with Russian accents, only the leader who Tara later discovered to be Tom spoke with English accent.
‘Break the *****ng door!’ Tom said on top of his voice to other four men with him.
The sound of gunshots made Tara look up, they were shooting the lock of the door. Luckily for her, all the men had their backs turned to her, so none saw her looking at them.
They broke the door and the four men rushed into the place, leaving Tom in the lounge.
Six minutes later, they dragged out to the lounge. He was already wounded and weak, bleeding from the nose.
Tom laughed wickedly on sighting . The men dragged to his front and dumped him.
‘Where’s she?’ Tom said, bending to stare into his face bit his lips tightly with teeth stained with blood. He stared back at Tom with mean eyes. He already resigned to his fate. He knew he couldn’t escape the death that Marie Wayne had brought him. Right from the day they had first met, his instincts had told him she would bring him trouble but his weak mind and the organ between his legs could not let him resist her offer to sleep with him. His life had not been the same since then as Marie Wayne had threatened to release pictures of them having sex to his wife and that was something he couldn’t risk, the game house which his life depended on would be taken away if his wife divorced him. Marie’s blackmail was however not for money, rather, she used him to get close to Tom who was a regular gamer in the place. However, he never knew what business existed between her and Tom, he only knew they had frequent arguments.
‘Would you answer me? Where is Marie?’ Tom barked.
‘I don’t know where Marie is,’ he answered. He tilted his head to the left and spat out blood.
‘That’s a lie! People spotted Marie Wayne with you three hours ago after she killed my men at the mad house, where the hell did she go after that?’ Tom shouted at him.
‘I don’t know!’ shouted back. ‘I don’t know what is happening between you and Marie, I’m not the one you should be asking these questions.’
Tom rose up slowly with his eyes squinted, he took a quick glance at one of his men and then fixed his gaze back on his face.
‘Where’s the girl she left with you?’ Tom asked. Omotara quivered in fear where she was.
He turned his head slowly to the spot Omotara was previously occupying, he squeezed his eyelids together as he turned his face back to Tom. ‘She was seated there.’
‘Is she that black girl I saw some minutes ago?’
‘Yes, she’s an African girl.’
‘Who is the girl and what is she doing here?’
‘I don’t know who the girl is, and she’s only waiting here, Marie is coming back for her tonight.’
‘She’s coming back?’
‘Are you sure?’
Tom looked around the place for sometime as if he was searching for something, then he turned to his men. ‘I want you all to leave this place now.’
‘Boss, are you sure we should leave?’ one of the men asked.
‘But how do you handle her alone, she’s dangerous you know? She took out all the men at the store gate an hour ago.’
‘Yes, leave right away. I have plans for her.’
The men seemed a bit reluctant but finally left one after the other.
‘Where’s your phone?’ Tom asked after the men left.
‘Here,’ squeezed the phone out of his pocket.
‘Call Marie and tell her I was here, tell her I left already and I threatened to return. Then let her know you’re planning to leave here and you’d be leaving the African girl alone here.’
He stared silently for a while. Then he looked at Tom’s face and the pistol being pointed at him. He dialed Marie’s number and told her as he was instructed.
‘Wait there, I’ll meet in the next thirty minutes,’ was Marie’s response before he cut the call.
Tom took out his own phone and dialed a number, ‘Darya, come around the game house, she’d be coming in the next thirty minutes.’
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After that, Tom motioned out of the place with his gun, leaving Omotara in the lounge undiscovered.
She came out of her hiding place and traced them to the hall. She stopped behind the wall where Tom had caught her earlier. The place was dark now as the bulb had been tampered with and there was little risk of her being discovered again.
There were several dead bodies and blood splattered on the floor in the gaming hall. Tom was now seated comfortably on a chair with his gun still pointed at who was kneeling some distance in front of him. Tara watched them remain in the same position for close to ten minutes until Tom received a phone call. A lady entered one minute later and Tom rose to speak with her. She was a tall lady just like the Queen but older in age, it was evident from her looks. Tara couldn’t hear what they were saying but she knew they spoke in a Russian language.
After two minutes of speaking, the lady walked out of Tara’s eye view but was still in the building. Tom spoke some words to who got up to his feet, they both went out of the gaming Hall for some seconds. The lights went off totally. The whole place became dark. It was only through sounds Tara was able to detect that they returned into the hall, she peeped from the wall and saw a tiny source of light being held in Tom’s hand as both men returned to their previous positions.
The Queen arrived fifteen minutes later. Omotara recognized her voice when she started to call out from the entrance. replied but Omotara could no longer hear their voices, Tom also began to talk to Tarasha in a furious voice. Omotara quietly walked away from behind the wall into the hall, she hid behind one of the tables. Tom’s little source of light was now on and Tara could see the Queen’s face turned to her. She knew the Queen would have heard her footsteps even though the men didn’t hear. One couldn’t become a Queen in Nefary Clan without the ability to hear the slightest sound.
Tara could now hear their conversation well. Tom was accusing the Queen of backstabbing him. He said the Queen had killed some politicians and took the key which was in his custody to take all the monies they had embezzled in cash and kept in a store with him. The Queen replied and told him she was only carrying out a job and there were sentiments attached.
The talk got more heated which resulted to the Queen grabbing Tom at the neck and trying to squeeze out life from him. Tom was bigger in size but the Queen was stronger. All of sudden a loud sound was heard and a scream followed. The little source of light in Tom’s hand fell and the light went off, nothing could be seen again. Omotara was scared, she recognized the Queen’s voice, it was the Queen who screamed. And that was when Omotara remembered the lady that had entered some minutes before the Queen. She regretted not warning the Queen of her presence.
She heard more sounds of fists fight and the groans that followed after was that of the Queen’s. Omotara knew the other lady was winning the Queen. She listened carefully and was able to detect the area at which the fighters were, she tiptoed as silently as possible and passed by the wall until she got out of the gaming Hall. She struggled in the dark to locate the switch outside and turned it on.
The lights came on and it happened as a surprise to Tom, , and the lady fighting with the Queen. The noise from the fight did not allow them know when Omotara slipped out. Only the Queen who was an expert in differentiating sounds was aware and heard the sound of every step she took.
The Queen was already badly injured, she was bleeding terribly and she already sustained an injury on the left leg. But she was able to give a fight after the lights came on. Tom tried to command to go out to turn back off the lights but the other lady stopped them. She saw that the Queen was already badly injured and was confident that the Queen would die in her hands.
The fight continued. This time, the Queen was able to deliver some hits to her opponent. The fight continued as a tie until the other lady discovered that there was an injury on the Queen’s leg. That turned it all around. The lady took control of the fight and injured the Queen so badly that one of the arms became terribly injured. Omotara watched with tears in her eyes as the Queen was being defeated while Tom cheered and just watched with a sad face.
The Queen began to speak out some incoherent words as the torture continued. It looked like she had gone crazy to the others but Omotara knew she was saying something meaningful. She was speaking an esoteric language which the Lords and Queens at the Nefary Clan used.
Obviously, Omotara was the one she was speaking to but the teenager could do nothing as she understood no part of the language. She struggled to listen until a phrase rang in her memory. She remembered that one of the Queens had said it when she (Omotara) was taken to the prison the day before. And what happened after was the lights going off. Omotara decided to turn off the lights, thinking it may be what the Queen was trying to communicate to her. She turned off the lights and there was total darkness again.
The groans and grunts continued for about ten minutes and then it suddenly ceased. Heavy breathing of someone could be heard, the spectators couldn’t tell whose own it was. Omotara ceased her breath, not knowing what to expect next, same as Tom. The next thing they heard was Tom’s sudden loud growl. rushed out of the hall and collided with Omotara outside the hall.
Omotara couldn’t understand what was happening, she got up from the fall and ignored as ran away. Then there was silence for another five minutes. Omotara had to turn on the lights when she couldn’t tell what was happening again. She turned in the light and looked into the hall. Behold, the Queen was seated on the floor, trying to tie the wound on her arm with her cloth; she had torn off her shirt, leaving only her bra on. Tom and the lady’s lifeless bodies could be seen on the floor.
The Queen rose up and limped to the entrance. ‘Let’s get out of here,’ she said to Omotara.
Omotara followed her quietly. Confused. She couldn’t tell how the Queen had been able to win the war in the same darkness that was making her loose at the beginning of the fight.
The Queen promised to reveal the secret of the fights victory to her later.
To be continued
Flashback ends here, we’d leave the revelation of the Queen for another time.
Answer to the Last question
Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport
1. How did Omotara locate the lights switch so quick?
2. Mention a significant similarity between the fight between Rex and Tarasha and the fight between the Queen and the lady mentioned in this episode.