It’s 12:45 am but the residents of Panama Close were nothing close to being asleep. Sirens from the ambulance and police vehicles saturated the atmosphere. Harun had hung himself on his balcony. His body dangled as the wind bustled. The perimeter was barricaded with tapes “Police line, do not cross.” Some officers went upstairs and took down his body, then wheeled him to the ambulance.
Another member of the faculty had committed suicide.
In eight weeks, about 7 members had taken their own lives, Harun was the eighth. Ayomide set himself ablaze, Babale took an overdose of Rohypnol, Chris hung himself, David slit his veins with a razor, Eric drove a knife through his stomach, Femi jumped into the lagoon, Grandeur shot himself with his hunter’s gun. He had survived it but died on the surgery table. All in alphabetical order, all in eight weeks.
I thought killing machines only existed in movies. Angelina Jolie draped in a black leather jumpsuit, on a mission to assassinate a minister. She’s successful. She leaves without a trace. This always intrigues me, the sound tracks, the action. but I never thought that’d be my lot in real life. I’ve been a killing machine as long as I can remember. My humanity buried somewhere underneath the dust of vengeance. The first man I killed was a man Hector made me believe killed my father. He pleaded and pleaded, I saw in his eyes that he wasn’t a murderer, that he was innocent but Hector whispered in my ears, “If you don’t pull that trigger, life will defeat you forever.” I shot him straight in the heart. I didn’t miss it. I aimed and shot, he fell and died, no struggles. We dug a pit there and buried him, along with my conscience and my humanity.
Kola was the only one who reminded me of my humanity, that somewhere beneath the beast I had become, there was a part of me that could have affection, that could look at a human being and not think he was just another mold of dust, a potential corpse. But he found me too late. He found me after Hector picked me from the streets and groomed me. And he will never know. He will never know that I am this thing, void of soul.
*Criminal Investigation Department*
“Have you noticed the patterns in these recent deaths?All the suicide notes contain the word vengeance. All written like poems.”
The officers in charge of the investigation were in the forensic lab, trying to unravel the mysteries behind the deaths of the faculty member.
“All in alphabetical order.”
“I’ve told the chief severally, this is carefully planned murder, wearing the appearance of suicide.”
“But the killer is leaving a trace. there are notes. These are codes.”
“But what if it’s really suicide?”
They Sat around a desk, 3 of them. Throwing questions at each other, examining the bodies, looking for a trace.
Aramide is headed towards Church Street, her face, dull as the coffee jumpsuit she choose to wear on the potentially eventful night. Three members of faculty will meet their deaths. 11 was the number of perfection.
She was going to hook up with Hector at their safe house.
She met the others, Brenda and Pinky. They were playing chess when she walked in. “Sorry I’m late.”
“The great ones always break the rules.” Hector said as he motioned for her to sit down.
He handed each girl an envelope. It was custom that none of the assassins see the faces of their mark till few hours before their assignments. Hector had no room for familiarity or emotional drama. Sometimes the girls only meet their mark at point of execution. He tracked all of them through the little chips he’d implanted on their cellphones.
“Picture and address of mark are embedded within. Remember the rules;only make the move when I give you the signal to proceed. And more importantly ladies..”
He stared at each one of them, they understood he wanted them to chorus the answer.
“Don’t get caught” They responded collectively.
He smiled a knowing smile and nodded.
“Engage when the hour hand touches 12 and the minute, touches 3.” The girls listened attentively, this was their life. If you miss a target, you get killed. There was no room for errors or mistakes. You must be timely and accurate.
“Listen for my prompt, follow my orders.” He said this and exited the room. The girls too set out in different directions, opening their envelopes to reveal their targets and their addresses.
Aramide opens her envelope, to see who the unfortunate human was, and shock was the dominant expression that greeted her face. It was Kola,her own Kola. She was the one who even took him that photo, he was taking a trip to the U.S for an exchange program and she took a photo of him, which he uploaded on Facebook and Instagram.
“Kola is a member of the Faculty? How comes they have this photo? Does Hector know about me and Kola?” These questions flooded her mind as she quickened herself out of the zone.
Eliminating Kola would be the greatest expression of ingratitude, but her line of business was one which provided no room for sentiment or emotions. Killing Kola will mean killing the only drop of humanity left in her. She will get killed if Kola is not dead within 24 hours.
She sat in a bar and dialled a cab. Her thoughts flying in different directions. A text comes in. “You aren’t within target location.” It was Hector, her heart skipped a beat. The taxi she had dialled, arrived.
H. ADAMU DRIVE
She was standing in front of Kola’s gate. She pressed the bell and the security man comes to open it. He recognizes her and smiles. “Oga madam, welcome oh! Wetin you bring for boys na?”
She smiles. “Wole! Are you a tax collector?” ” He giggles “No be so, e just…”
She brings out a thousand naira note from her pocket, gives it to him and moves off.
Kola is in the sitting room, watching an episode of GOT. He’s so engrossed he doesn’t notice her presence. She stares at him for minutes, then stares at the .25 semi automatic weapon she’s supposed to kill him up with. She will shoot him but make it appear like he shot himself.
A text comes in, “Get ready to engage in 5.”
Tears fill her eyes. She says his name in a whisper and points the gun to herself.