“Dad? Is this really you?” Eva asked moving close to her father.
She did not mind the gun that was now pointed at her temple. She had shock and surprise written all over her face as she walked towards her father.
“Stay where you are Eva. We don’t want to have ourselves a blood bath.” The Colonel replied not taking his eyes off Sean who was still on the floor.
Without turning, the Colonel kicked the door close with his left leg. With the sides of his eyes he kept an eye on Sean and saw his daughter moving closer. He gauged the distance between Eva and him. He fired a shot.
The bullet shattered the bottle of Vodka on the table close to Eva. It was a precise shot.
With his eyes still on Sean, he barked:
“I said don’t fucking move girl!”
Eva froze in her steps. If this man could take such a shot, she did not want to experience what it would feel like if he actually aimed at her. She stooped. The look she saw in his eyes was one she had never seen before. His eyes were very red. His face was expressionless. But somehow she was able to connect with his countenance. And what she saw there scared her. Her father was hurting. Her father was desperate. Her father wanted blood.
“You, get up.” He said to Sean waving the gun at him and directing him towards Eva.
Sean crawled up from the ground, backing away from him. He walked backward hitting his legs against the couch. He was now side by side with Eva now.
“What do you want?” Sean finally asked.
He now realised that whoever this man was he needed something. And he would not get it if he killed any of them. Then he had heard Eva call him dad. He would get back to that much later but first, he needed to know why this man had burst into their privacy and threatened them.
The Colonel turned and had them sit on the couch. He faced them and sat on the couch directly opposite them, aiming the guns at both foreheads.
“I am sure you are wondering why I am here and what I want. I am going to make it very simple. I want to talk. Just talk. I want to drop my guns now. But don’t go having any ideas.” The Colonel said.
As he finished he nodded at their chests and they both looked at their chests at the same time. There was a tiny red infra-red target marker on their chests. They looked up at the Colonel.
The Colonel smiled
“I brought a few friends, just in case things got, you know, a little bit out of control. You know how stubborn you children usually are.” He said and continued.
“But trust me; none of you will leave this room alive if you decide to act funny. All I ask is that you just listen to me. Give me a few minutes. Listen to what I have to say. And if you don’t like it, I walk out. And I will never bother you again. That simple.” The Colonel said.
He pressed the cartridge release buttons on both guns and the cartridges containing the bullets fell to the ground.
“You see? No guns from me. Now, hear what I have to say.” The Colonel said.
Ambrose touched down in Abuja at exactly 12:30pm the day before he was to resume in the SPPS. He wanted a feel of the environment, acclimatise to the weather and maybe find one or two hotspots to cool off after a hectic day. He decided against a taxi and took the bullet train instead. He got on the train, checked with the coach and dumped his luggage in the suspender above his seat. He got the window seat which he always loved because it granted him ample view of the lush scenery wherever he went. The speakers above his head came alive and it was announced that the train was about to move and the journey would take twenty minutes. He shifted in his chair, making himself more comfortable. There was no one beside him. He closed his eyes, desperate for a quick nap.
After seven minutes he opened his eyes. He could not sleep. He felt uneasy. His stomach rumbled. He got up and made for the toilet.
Just then a man who sat three seats behind him got up too. He was slim, six feet tall and wore glasses. He wore a tailored three piece suit and had a gun inside his inner bosom pocket. He walked slowly the same way Ambrose went, towards the toilet.
As Ambrose closed the door behind him, he quickly put his ears by the toilet door, listening for footsteps. One of the rules for every spy was, “Always Study Your Environment.” Immediately Ambrose entered the train and sat down, he noticed the man in the three piece suit come in after him, He could feel the man’s gaze on him. He knew something was not right. Another part of him told him he might just be over reacting. He drew the conclusion that he had to be careful.
However, now the footsteps drew closer. He now had no doubts in his mind that this was the same man. The footsteps were calculated, slow and precise. They were ordered. He moved away from the door and waited. There were three cubicles in the male section. He was in the last one. The footsteps stooped and a door opened. Ambrose guessed it was the first cubicle. He was not too sure. He hated being unsure. So, he made a deep sound as if he was having trouble getting his business done. He waited. A door shut and the footsteps came again. Slow, calculating and precise. He approximated the distance from the first cubicle to the next. The second cubicle was open so if he was a man in need of a shit, the footsteps would stop. But it didn’t. The footsteps continued and stopped at his door. Ambrose groaned again for effect. He was facing the door preparing for the worst. He looked around the toilet and the only thing he could see was a towel. He took it and folded it in two. The door had a tiny knob with no key hole. Even air would have a hard time peeping through.
The knob turned and the door opened outwards.
Ambrose kicked the door with all the strength he could muster. The door hit the man on his face and the gun fell off his hand. Ambrose rushed towards him before the man could regain his composure. He rained blows on the man’s face and upper body.
He tied the towel around the man’s neck, shutting the air out of him. The man gasped for breath. Ambrose dragged him into the toilet and put his head by the window. The train was moving very fast. Trees and forests were everywhere. There was a tunnel coming up in the far distance. In a matter of seconds, the man’s body would be headless if not dragged back into the train.
“Who sent you?!!!” Ambrose barked, pinning the man’s legs to the wall, his head and shoulders outside the window. He strangled the man tighter. The man coughed. He did not reply.
“I said, who sent you!?” Ambrose shouted again punching the man in the face.
The tunnel was visible now. If Ambrose did not drag the man inside, the man would die. He would not have any clue about who sent him. He decided to let the man die.
“You brought this on yourself.” Ambrose said pushing the man’s body farther out.
The man got this strength from nowhere, freed his legs and hit Ambrose’s groin with his knee cap. He felt the choking hold on his neck loosen, so he punched Ambrose on the face and quickly pulled himself back into the toilet. Immediately, the train entered the tunnel.
Both men panted and looked at each other with cold stares.
The man was first to speak.
“My name is Special Agent Ken. You just passed your interview.” The man said panting and bringing out a badge from his pocket. He threw it at Ambrose. Ambrose ran his hands through the gold crest of the elephants on his badge. It was genuine.
“What interview?” Ambrose asked.
“What you had at the Capitol was just a courtesy visit. This WAS the interview.” Special Agent Ken replied.
“One of us could have been killed! What sort of crazy people am I working with?” Ambrose said, standing up. The man got up too.
“This is my job. I have been interviewing members for the SPPS for eight years. Let’s just say, I like to gamble with my life.” Agent Ken said.
Ambrose was about to retort when the speakers above them came alive.
“We have two minutes before we reach Gwarimpa. Please get ready.”
“Time to go.” Agent Ken said.
They cleaned up themselves and went back to their seats.
“What have I gotten myself into?” Ambrose wondered.
As they got off the train he got a message on his phone.
“Code Red. Abort Mission.”
It was from Sophia.
* * * * *
The Colonel spoke in hushed tones captivating the attention of Sean and Eva with his unique plan. He told them about his history with the General and brought to light secrets they never knew. He explained how his son was killed and how he had been on the trail of the Ghosts Corporation. He made his speech quick and straight to the point, with no emotions. He spoke as a matter of fact and did not hide his intentions. He wanted the General dead which also meant taking down GhostCorp. They were either with him on this or against him.
He explained that he had killed Tawo in self-defense when he was ambushed in his hotel room. In return Ahmed was killed. The Colonel wanted retribution. And he would not stop till he got it.
“It was so easy to get to you two. If I wanted you dead, you would be dead. Taking you down along with Marcus would be silly when I know I can have you on my side. Think about it.” The Colonel said.
He handed them a little chip attached to a small paper. Sean looked at the note.
“This whole room is bugged. Get to a safe place and use this chip on a brand new phone. Make sure you are alone.”
Sean looked up at the Colonel and nodded.
“One more thing. I have relocated your parents. I have released both your mums from the men who were keeping them hostage. They are currently on a plane out of the country as we speak. You are not required to act under duress anymore.” The Colonel finished.
Sean could not believe his ears. He had tried to locate his mum but all his efforts were futile. He knew his mother was safe. He spoke to her regularly. He knew she was in Mushin but he did not know where exactly she was. She was moved around a lot and she was not allowed to disclose her location.
He had called her one night and she had broken down in tears. She was scared. One of the goons that the Corporation had protecting her had just shot and killed someone in front of her. She was scared and was begging Sean to return home as soon as possible.
Sean reassured his mother that all that was happening was for her own good and that he would be home soon. Now this man had taken his mother from under his nose and relocated her. He was beginning to take this man seriously.
“How do I know you are not leading me on? How can I trust you?” Sean asked.
“For one, you are still alive. Second, no matter what you decide, I will hand your mother to you. I just want you to read up everything you have on that chip. Then make your decision. We’ll go on from there.” The Colonel replied.
“How do I get in touch with you?” Sean asked.
“You don’t find me. I find you. I will establish contact at 18:00hrs.” The Colonel replied.
He turned and looked at his daughter. Emotions welled up in his heart. He wanted to reach out to her. Hug her. Listen to her and catch up on all the years they had been apart. But he couldn’t. At least not yet. Before now no one new that he had a daughter. The people closest to him were all dead. Ahmed was dead. Abbey his son was dead. His wife died during a complication while giving birth to his son. Involving Eva in an emotional triangle would not be good for any of them.
“Eva, I know about all your take outs. I have passed some fake information to the police and it has taken them off your trail. I am aware of every move you have made thus far. You were pretty careless.” The Colonel said.
He brought out a tiny mini disc from his hip pocket and handed it to her.
“Here is all you need to do to take the agency off your trail. Marcus had been so blinded by his desire for revenge that he forgot to cover his loopholes. I have done that for him. However, when you finish cleaning up the mess, you need to get out. Lay low. By the time I am done, you will be a free woman. And if I am still alive, we will talk.” The Colonel finished.
Eva made to get up, but the Colonel gave her a very stern look. Eva remembered the infra-red target marker and relaxed again.
“I am done here. I will contact you in nine hours Sean. Or is it Agent Bravo? I think this would be a good time to call your Sidekick, Bruno. I intercepted his email too. He is waiting for your contact. There’s a full chicken in the oven in the kitchen. It would be completely cooked in ten minutes. When you hear the sound, then you can get up. Not before.” The Colonel finished.
He picked the cartridges on the floor and inserted them back into the guns. He put them back in the double gun hostler he had strapped on. As he walked towards the door, he looked back at Eva. They were still rooted to the spot their bums on the chair.
He shut the door after him without another word.
Immediately they heard the sound of the Oven that the chicken was done, Eva and Sean got off the chair with light speed in opposite directions. Eva turned the table in the sitting room and hid behind it. Sean crouched behind the couch, using it as a shield. Both were expecting a barrage of gun fire. They stood still for seconds expecting the windows to shatter any moment. Nothing happened.
After two minutes of waiting, Sean got up and courageously walked towards the window. He kept to the dark side of the room, avoiding getting into the line of fire. He stood by the side of the glass windows and bent slowly, his eyes trying to catch a glimpse of the sniper who was aimed at them. As a trained sniper himself, one of the trainings he had undergone was how to locate a sniper in the tallest of buildings. His eyes had been carefully adjusted and perfected to single out snipers at whatever distance they were shooting from.
He was careful at first taking care to make sure only his left eye was visible from the window. He quickly pulled his head back. Nothing happened. He repeated this again. Still nothing happened. He got bolder, put out his whole head and pulled back in one swift motion. No gun shot. He relaxed by the window and breathed hard. Eva was watching him and was scared to death. She worried that Sean might get himself killed trying to dare the sniper who was somewhere outside the hotel. She shook her head at Sean. She knew he was about to do something crazy and she feared the outcome. Hiding behind the table, she shook her head vigorously at Sean, communicating with him not to try what he was thinking of doing. Sean winked at her and smiled. He nodded.
Sean put out his right hand expecting it to be shot at. Eva closed her eyes. Nothing happened. Sean waved it a few times. Still nothing happened. He noticed the infra-red target marker on his palm as he waved.
“What in hell?” Sean said as he came to a sudden realisation.
He left the side of the window and stood in the line of fire, arms akimbo. The target marker was on his neck. He moved sideways to his right and stretched his left arm. The marker was on his shoulder.
“Come on out Eva. There’s no sniper out there. It’s a decoy.” Sean said, standing again directly in the line of fire.
Eva got up and came to where Sean was. She stood beside him, and waved her hands around the target marker. Nothing happened. She turned and hugged Sean very tight. Seeing her father had brought back memories and emotions that she had buried for three years. She cried on his shoulder. Sean held her tight and didn’t say a word. He let her express herself.
Five minutes later he whispered to her ears.
“Your father is right. He would not have come all this way for nothing. Let’s get out of here.” Sean said.
On the roof of an insurance building 100 meters north of Sean’s window, The Colonel lay flat on his stomach. He knew Sean had an eye for spotting snipers, so he had already painted his sniper rifle blue. He painted his face blue as he drove to the building and wore a blue face cap.
He watched the drama in the pent house and smiled as Sean stood in the line of fire. He was tempted to take him out. When Eva hugged Sean tight and cried, The Colonel’s already weakened heart gave way. A tear fell from his left eye, while his right was glued in the scope attached to the rifle. He pressed a hand to his right ear. He had dropped a bug in the room immediately he barged in.
He heard Sean say they had to leave and how he was right. The Colonel silently prayed that he had done the right thing by bringing Sean and his daughter in. He had no choice. He needed every one he could get on his side. He packed his weapons and left the rooftop.
Ambrose was walking towards a parked car when he got the message from Sophia. There was nothing he could do. He was walking with Special Agent Ken. He had no doubt in his mind that once he got into that waiting car he was going to be history. He had about thirteen more steps till the door opened. Ambrose looked around the terminal. He picked out about 6 cops in strategic positions. They were watching him but were hiding it very perfectly. He smiled as he remembered the story that Agent Ken had cooked up. He was good. Agent Ken was supposed to kill him but when that did not work he had quickly concocted a back-up story and was now leading him to his end.
Six steps more.
Ambrose needed to take a decision. He needed to act.
As they got to the car, Ambrose hit Ken in the ribs with his elbow and broke into a run. Two cops got out of the car and screamed at Ambrose.
“Stop!” pointing their pistols at him.
He was already twelve meters away, “zigzagging” through the crowd. The cops could not risk taking a shot as innocent civilians might be harmed.
Half a dozen cops pursued him threatening to shoot and shouting at civilians to give way. The whole train terminal was in commotion as Ambrose pushed bystanders aside and ran through the crowded station. People dived away from the path of the ensuing fracas as the cops gradually closed the gap between them and Ambrose.
Just then the train began to move. It started to move slowly and gradually picked up. Ambrose moved to his right and ran after the train. The train gained momentum and was picking up pace. Ambrose tried to get in through the last door but it closed shut before he could put his hand in between the doors to close it. There was a tunnel approaching. The cops were eight meters behind him. The crowd was thinning. He had no choice.
He took one last bold step and plunged forwards. His right hand caught a panel at the back of the train while his boots grazed the rail track. He managed to pull himself up and hold on to the panel that saved his life. The cops paused and shot into the darkness at the train. Ambrose was already on the roof of the train.
“Set up a blockade at the Maitama intersection. I need eyes in the sky! I want him dead or alive! I prefer the former. Somebody, get me that bastard!” Special Agent Ken shouted to no one in particular.
The cops around him scrambled away, making calls and walking away.
The Agent did not move. He continued to stare surprisingly into the darkness of the tunnel.
TO BE CONTINUED
Hey! don’t go yet. Kindly click the “share this” button and drop your thoughts.