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Tina fainted and fell in a heap on the floor. Eno’s eyes widened as she covered her mouth with both her hands to stop herself from screaming. The gunshots attracted chaos from outside the bedroom as Donald’s goons knocked frantically and screamed out their boss’ name in worry.
Nkem was on the floor in a crumpled heap; blood sipping through her hands, all over her neck and her chest. Her bra, formerly white, was now a crimsoned tie-and-dye hue. The room was silent save for the occasional sniffle that escaped Eno. Nkem gasped for air, her breath coming out in short labored bursts. She felt like she had been tackled by a rodeo bull and having the wind knocked out of her. With shaky hands, she managed to push Donald’s naked lifeless body away from on top of her; scrambling up and hurriedly putting some distance between herself and the dead man. Her aim had been perfect. The first shot had landed squarely on his chest. The second was a near-miss; it hit him on the shoulder. The third shot could have been executed by a pro. It landed on his forehead at a perfect angle between his eyes. Donald hadn’t had the pleasure of uttering his ‘Last words’ before slumping forward, his deadweight taking her down with him as he fell. His cold lifeless eyes still expressed shock.
The goons in the living room were trying to break down the bedroom door. Nkem had to act fast because she knew two of the four men were armed. Unfortunately, she was shaking so bad, she dropped the gun. As she retrieved it, sudden chill engulfed her. What if they burst in here? She hadn’t considered them a factor when she’d made plans to kill Donald. Now she was stuck in a kill or be killed situation. She managed to calm her shaky nerves and checked the bullet rounds in her gun. The fifteen round gun still had twelve bullets in it. Nkem took a deep breath and looked around the bedroom, trying to think of a sensible place to hide or take succor from the goons.
The door was giving in slowly and she knew the goons were going to burst in, guns blazing….. but strangely enough, she was ready. She turned to Eno who was still whimpering by the corner. “You’d better go into the toilet and hide” she told her emotionlessly. “And drag your friend in there with you. Make sure you lock the doors because its going to be messy in here”. Nkem realized that her voice sounded alien even to her own ears and wasn’t surprised that it propelled instant action from Eno. She watched the naked girl drag her comatose friend into the adjoining bathroom and locked the door.
The entrance door burst open and the two armed goons ran into the room first; armed, poised and ready to kill. The ladies were nowhere to be found but their boss lay dead on the floor; his blood forming a weird rug-pool around his body. The armed goons made a beeline for the bathroom door while the unarmed ones were trying to resuscitate a dead Donald. Nkem had the perfect aim from her vantage position behind the window drapes. She raised her gun again.
Boom! Boom!! Boom!!! Boom!!!! Boom!!!!!’
Five rounds fired in quick successions. Two goons on the floor, two others out of the bedroom in panic. Death seemed to make her adrenalin pump. She threw herself on the ground dramatically, expecting reprisal gunshots, and crawled – combatant style – on the floor, trying to duck. There was no retaliating shot, just groans of pain and anguish. Stealthily, she made her way towards the men. The first goon was groaning in pain, clutching his chest that harbored two bullet holes. The second goon was hit on his right arm and was trying to reach for his fallen pistol with his left. Nkem smiled. Three of the five fired shots had met their target. She was getting pretty good at shooting people, she thought. Her glee was temporal though. The second goon had managed to grab his gun but did not survive the lifting. She shot him in the head and made sure she didn’t miss. His death was instant. She finished off the first goon out of mercy because didn’t want him bleeding to death.
She kicked them a few times to ensure that they were certifiably dead before going to lift the door from the floor and placing it in its rightful position. She needed it as a shield in case the other goons returned. She calmly got out her cell phone from her handbag and called Desmond.
SIX MONTHS EARLIER
Osa was due for his annual leave but unlike his usual self, he had made little preparation. Instead, he was busy chasing a notorious drug-baron, trying to find enough evidence to link him to several drug bursts and put him away for good. The NDLEA had been on Donald’s tail forever but had not found any evidence to suggest that he dealt drugs or even had drug mules on his payroll. Finding a way to connect Donald to the drug ring had been his obsession. To him it was personal. His cousin, Eromo had gotten entangled with Donald, working as his mule and making drops in the United Kingdom and some parts of Europe. Eromo was caught on his way to Europe and brought to the NDLEA office as a suspect and one of Donald’s mules. As was expected, Eromo refused to cooperate, maintaining stoic silence, much to his cousin’s consternation. Osas’ disappointment had promptly changed to despair and humiliation when Eromo eventually excreted twenty-four wraps of cocaine. Eromo was bamboozled into making incriminating statements against Donald which the NDLEA used to their advantage. Donald was picked up and charged to court. However, it was no coincidence that Eromo, his lawyers and three NDLEA officers were gunned down on their way to court the following week. The case against Donald had been thrown out for lack of physical evidence or testimony and the media had had a field day conjuring theories and making Donald out as an Untouchable Businessman.
Osas was upset by his cousin’s death but had his ace. Eromo had given him certain information that he didn’t divulge to his colleagues or superiors. All he had to do was play underground detective for a few days and gather the required information to nail Donald. His underground work required him to visit specific rooms in certain guesthouses; discreetly breaking into cars and even an apartment, owned but rarely used, by Donald. Osas was able to gather the required evidence in under a week, working alone and not telling anyone anything except his wife.
Nkem was worried for her husband. She’d heard stories of Donald and they were never pleasant. Eromo’s case was a solid example. She just wished Osas would stop giving Donald undue priority and focus on their family. The twins hardly saw him these days and even when he was around, he was always on the phone, working on his laptop or even sneaking out in the dead of the night on ‘fact-finding missions’. He had told her about his plans to nail Donald and showed her documents and even a parcel of cocaine which he had obtained from one of the cars he broke into. He now had enough evidence to throw Donald in jail for life. Against her advise, he confided in his friend and colleague before taking the evidence to his superiors. Osas was hailed and celebrated by his NDLEA superiors for a job well done. Donald was arrested again and this time, was remanded in custody.
Osas finally took his leave, expecting that proper judicial action would be meted out to Donald. He and his family were due to travel to South Africa for a week vacation and he needed to cut his hair and shave. Excited to see their dad home, Micky and Michelle refused to leave his side and hopped into the car when he said he was off to the barber’s for a haircut. Oge, Nkem’s only sister, was on holidays and was staying with them. She was on her way to the market but decided to hitch a ride with Osas. Nkem waved her family away with a broad smile as the children’s excited chatter drowned with the exit of the car from the compound.
Osas had noticed the car tailing them but didn’t say a word to his sister in-law. He didn’t want to make her panic. He looked at his adorable five year-olds talking non-stop at the back seat of the car and smiled. The car tailing him maintained a safe distance. He had a hunch that Donald had set his goons on him but he tried to stay positive. He pulled into a nearby filling station without indication and stopped at the nearest pump, still watching his rearview mirror to see if the car would follow suit. The car stopped at the entrance of the filling station and four burly men in suits and dark sunglasses emerged from it, walking purposefully towards his car.
………………… Mayhem followed ………………..
The four men opened fire on Osas’ car….
The filling station attendants took to their heels for safety…..
Oge, exited the car with the children and tried to escape to safety but didn’t get far….
Micky and Michelle’s innocent lives were cut short by several bullets….
Osas’, in his dying breath, whispered Nkem’s name before slumping on the steering wheel of his car.
The headline on every newspaper the following day read: “Bloodbath, Mayhem, Chaos and Tears as NDLEA official and his family are brutally gunned down by assassins; Wife in coma!”
(………………..TO BE CONTINUED)
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