Hi guys, if you haven’t placed your prediction on the #GiveAway topic, please do. Time is running out.
The Colonel woke up slowly, stretching his arms and trying to stifle a yawn. It had been a long night. He had driven for hours and his back was beginning to ache. He was now in Akure, hours after driving non-stop from Benin City, Edo State. He had booked and paid for the hotel reservation online using a fake ID and money from one of his alias bank accounts. Hiding was easy but expensive. He was glad that the country had gotten to the stage where everything was done almost paper less. The hotel sent him a 4 pin code that served as his suite key. He arrived at the hotel in the dead of night, punched in the 4 pin code and got to his suite. He landed on the bed fully clothed sleeping off almost immediately. Ahmed however was more alert. Over the years he had now become very vigilant. He suspected everything. He even suspected the air he breathed sometimes. Ahmed did not sleep. He went from the toilet, to the bathroom, to the living room and then into the bedroom, looking carefully and searching for anything remotely suspicious and out of place. He lifted vases, opened covers, searched the wall for bugs, ran the taps, and checked the furniture. He was extremely thorough. They had been to half the states in the country in the space of 35 months. They never stayed in one place for too long. That was the price they had to pay for pitching their tent against the Ghost’s Corporation.
The Colonel looked round the huge bedroom of the five- star hotel they had lodged in. Ahmed was nowhere to be found. Throwing the duvet aside, he climbed out of bed, and walked into the living room. Ahmed stood arms akimbo facing the wall. Newspaper clippings in different shapes and sizes were pinned to the wall. For three years Ahmed had been carefully observing perfectly orchestrated assassinations, high profile murders and unexplainable disappearances of political hotshots. Every morning when he got the daily newspaper, he cut out parts that caught his fancy and kept them. Wherever they set up camp, he took the clippings out and studied them. He tried to find a pattern. He desperately wanted to understand the motive behind the killings. Every day at dawn, he painstakingly scrutinised the clippings looking for any form of clue. And every time he ended up angry and frustrated. He got more confused by the day. He had no doubts in his mind that the Ghosts were behind these murders. They were efficient and invisible. Yet, he strongly believed that there had to be a weak spot. There had to be a slight loop hole. And it was that loop hole he sought to find.
Two days earlier, the Chief of army staff had died in a hotel in Lagos. Autopsy reports had it that he suffered a strong heart attack. Rumour had it that the woman who he had intimate relations with was too hot for him to handle. Others said that he loved to ma5turbate and had done one too many, the last one being his undoing. The official report from the Army Barracks had it that he was only resting after a long meeting when he died in his sleep.
After Ahmed read the news, he cut it out and added it to his collection of clippings. He hacked into the hospital’s server to access the Chief’s medical history. The Chief had no prior heart issue, and for five years running had never missed his appointment with the doctors. The doctors passed him fit at the last check-up two months back. His wife and four children were based outside the country and kept in touch regularly. He got an unannounced promotion just recently and was a very happy man.
Ahmed suspected foul play.
The Colonel walked up behind him, placing his left hand on Ahmed’s right shoulder. Without looking back, Ahmed greeted,
“Good Morning Uncle. Trust you are refreshed after that irresistible nap?” Ahmed said.
“Yes boy. I am. What was it with the entire search you were conducting last night? I was too tired to get up and ask you. Do I sense some form of paranoia boy?” The Colonel sounded worried.
“Uncle, you have taught me a lot these few years. Part of what I have learned from you is to always be aware of my surroundings. One can never be too certain of how safe he is. Extra precaution has to be taken Uncle.” Ahmed said, his eyes still fixed on the newspaper clippings.
“Spoken like a true soldier. Any luck with those?” The Colonel said pointing at the wall.
Ahmed shook his head.
“Uncle, do you know anyone in the late Chief of Army Staff’s cabinet that we can coerce to speak to us? I smell a rat in the stories going round about the cause of death. Something is not right.” Ahmed said facing his uncle.
“I actually do. I personally got Mustapha the position of Chief of Army Staff six years ago. And along with that, I planted my spies. One of his security details is a trusted servant. Hold on.” The Colonel said.
The Colonel got out his phone and inserted the new sim card he got the day before. It was registered to the Alias that paid for the hotel.
“Son, set your stop watch to 18 seconds. It takes 20 minutes for a pro to trace a call. I do not know if the mole has been compromised. When I start talking, begin the countdown. Stop me immediately the timer ends.” The Colonel said and Ahmed nodded.
He dialled the number.
There was a click on the other end of the line showing that the mole had picked the call. The Colonel signalled to Ahmed to start the timer. He obliged.
“Chameleon Brown. It’s Alpha speaking.” The Colonel said
“Sorry. Wrong number please.” The voice at the other end replied.
“What really happened to Strong Man?” The Colonel persisted
“Baby, damn. Did you see that? She just killed that man and dived into the pool through the window. Wow! She left her gown and that rough bouncer has picked it up. Baby you are missing! In fact it seems I am going to wait for you to finish so you can join me o. This movie is so interesting. I want…” The man was saying but the Colonel cut in.
“Excuse me? Please can I talk to Chameleon Brown? It’s really urgent.” The colonel pleaded.
“Olga, I said this is a wrong number. What is your problem? Can’t I enjoy my movie in peace? Can you…” He was saying angrily but the Colonel dropped the call on him.
“How many seconds?” The Colonel asked asked Ahmed
“16 seconds.” Ahmed replied and continued,
“Seems like you dialled the wrong number.”
The Colonel put off the phone, opened the back cover and took out the sim card. He scratched the gold area of the sim with the back cover of the phone, and then broke the sim in two.
“Actually, it was the correct number.” The Colonel said, walking to a chair. He sat down and crossed his legs smiling mischievously.
“I don’t understand Uncle” Ahmed said folding his arms across his chest.
“Mustapha was killed by a female. She escaped through the window, diving into the pool below their hotel. She may have forgotten to take a piece of clothing along. It’s with one of the bouncers.” The Colonel said.
“Or Uncle, she may have left it deliberately to set the police on the wrong track. The Ghosts are very smart.” Ahmed said walking towards his uncle. He continued.
“Can I access the internet from this building? I want to dig into the hotel surveillance. I also want to check the architectural design of the hotels. Doors, windows, suites, corridors, pathways, and everything that I can lay my hands on.”
“I know some access codes and encrypted hash tags you can use to override the Access Control Protocols that protect the firewalls you may encounter. However, I just made a transmission from this location by calling my informant. Making another transmission is pushing it too far. I know a place where we can go. We leave at dusk.” The Colonel said with a tone of finality.
He picked up the Intercom and called kitchen.
Sean finished his early morning ritual drowned in his own sweat. His muscles rippled under his sleeveless shirt and his skin glowed under his own perspiration. He was not satisfied with the day’s work out. He still had more energy to burn. He prostrated on the gym floor, balanced himself on his hands and toes, and began to do push-ups.
“1, 2, 3, 4…” he counted as he pumped. He was feeling the strain and bulge in his biceps. He loved it. He loved the pain. He had become so accustomed to pain. In the previous year, he had spent four months in interrogation by the harshest standards.
“51, 52…” he counted as he pumped.
He switched to pumping with one hand.
“58, 59… 60.” He groaned the last number and turned on his back. He was breathing hard and fast, his heart trying to adjust to the huge demand of blood from his body.
As he breathed, he fell into revelry, remembering all that happened eight months ago:
8 months ago:
Sean hurried to the roof of the Civic Center. It was 5am. He was disguised as a member of the Lagos State Elite Sniper Team. It was campaign season in the country and every eligible candidate was flaunting posters, carrying out different campaign strategies and lobbying for voters’ support.
The governor was running for second term and was scheduled to hold a campaign parade later in the morning. The Governor and his entourage would start their open air parade at 9am, starting off at Ajah, up until CMS bus stop. Therefore the amount of security provided was immense. There was a convoy of police cars, a huge number of armed foot soldiers and helicopters flying around. The Ghosts had worked their magic and Sean had been included in the Sniper team. There were 50 snipers in all. His designation was at the top of the Civic center. Snipers lined almost every high rise building on the Ozumba Mbadiwe road. He was dressed in a police uniform with “SNIPER” written boldly behind and in front. He kept radio communication with the rest of the team as he set up his Sniper rifle adjusting the focus and scanning other roof tops for similar weapons.
Earlier that morning just before the snipers were dispatched, the Sniper Commander had assembled them and gave them a harangue. The order from the Sniper commander was:
“Make sure there are no infidels out there!” He charged and continued
“The Governor is in full view of the public. Make sure there are no smart as5es up on that roof! You see a threat, you take it out!!! Nothing and I repeat Nothing happens to the governor on my watch! Copy that?!!!” The Sniper commander yelled.
“Yes sir!!!” The snipers replied.
However, Sophia’s instructions were simpler:
“Take out the Governor”.
* * * * *
Sean’s heartbeat rose as the seconds grew closer. It was a few minutes to 9am. The Sniper commander had just radioed, saying that the Governor and his convoy were very close and would pass by any moment. He demanded sharpness now more than ever. Beads of sweat broke out on Sean’s forehead. He was nervous. Who wouldn’t be? Asides the fact that he had to take out the number one citizen of the state, this was his final test. His performance would determine the next thing that happened to him. Still sprawled on the roof top he looked through the lens of the sniper rifle positioned on a small tripod stand. The street beneath him was free of cars but filled with armed police men who were desperately trying to control the teeming crowd and still watch out for strays. He slotted in the only available single long silver bullet and snapped the bullet chamber shut. He needed only one shot. He closed his eyes and waited. Closing his eyes always helped him gather his thoughts. It made him focus on the task at hand and helped block out any form of distractions.
A few minutes later, he heard sounds of drumming and fanfare. The trumpets blared at heightened tempo while the drummers desperately tried to match the intensity of the blasts. They were close by. He opened his eyes. His heartbeat was intense. But he had to do it. He had come too far to stop now. He could not help it. He put his left eye on the lens and closed his right eye. The Governor was about 5 knots to his left, standing through the open roof of his car and waving to the ecstatic crowd who chanted his name. He waited as the Governor’s car moved slowly into the target zone. Sean’s hands were sweaty under his black cotton gloves. He suddenly felt the need to ease himself. He fought it. Sophia’s words rang in his head: “Take out the Governor”.
He put his right forefinger in the trigger hole. As the Governor’s car moved, slowly entering the target zone, Sean’s finger slowly grabbed the trigger. The Governor was finally in the zone. The target mark was on his head. Sean pulled the trigger. 20 meters to his left, the Governor fell on his head. Dead.
There was commotion everywhere as the crowd scattered in different directions. The Campaign carnival had suddenly turned into a blood bath. The Governor was immediately pulled inside the car. The once slow cars that moved at snail pace during the parade now sped dangerously through Ozumba Mbadiwe, rushing to get the Governor medical attention. The armed police men were confused and surprised at the same time. Nobody envisaged this. Nobody knew what to do.
From his ground position the Sniper Commander stood perplexed. He looked through his highly powered ultra-binoculars at the rooftops of the nearest buildings.
He spoke into his radio:
“Snipers! Maintain your positions! No body moves! I repeat, NOBODY MOVES!” He screamed
As he spoke, he scanned the entire sky rise buildings, making sure that each sniper was in place as commanded. As he radioed the choppers for a head count, whilst scanning the rooftops with his binoculars, he noticed one of the sniper posts without a sniper.
“Code Red. Track down Sniper 038 now!” He ordered
Sean got up very quickly, moving away from the edge of the roof. There was a small door on the roof which also served as a fire escape. He opened the door, revealing a stairwell that led to the ground floor. As he hurried down the stairs, he took off this sniper uniform. He had another uniform underneath which had RRS written back and front. He was on the third floor when he heard the radio call from the Sniper commander. There was a gun and a helmet by the landing of the second floor. He wore the helmet and took the gun. He got out through the back door looking very smart. He saw a team of RRS soldiers and joined them.
They nodded at him as they walked in a group. They had walked for fifteen minutes, searching every nook and cranny when a grey Peugeot car pulled over. A man opened the door and called to him.
“Hey you. Come in here.” The man pointed to Sean.
Everything was going according to plan. This was the exact way Sophia had said he would be extracted. He felt relieved.
Immediately he got into the car and shut the door, he knew he was in trouble.
There was no one he recognised in the bus.
As he calculated his options on how to escape, a punch hit him on the face from nowhere. He felt blood trickle from his nose. Before he could react, someone put a wet handkerchief on his nose. He could not breathe. There was some form of liquid on the handkerchief. It smelt like sulphur.
Sean passed out.
TO BE CONTINUED.
Oya! dont run yet! kindly drop your thoughts before you leave ;D, thanks.