If someone had told Shaggy that things would come to such a deplorable state today, he would have scoffed, especially, not after all the perfect plans that had been laid down.
He of all people should know that plans didn’t necessarily always go as planned. His past had taught him that in the most brutal manner. But as a human being, still breathing, hope flowed eternal.
When Nkakad had returned two hours ago with the van empty of children, Shaggy had sighed in relief. But then he’d proceeded to be shocked when he’d been told that Drogba was dead, electrocuted by the security system at the school.
Shaggy mentally acknowledged that it was a terrible way to die but then he was better off compared to the other guys locked up in that school. Well, depending on how one looked at it any way.
He listened to the situation at the school and he couldn’t help but duff his mental hat for Cyril Ndon aka Udo Ebenezer aka proprietor of the school.
The other guys were finished then because the cops had them surrounded. Shaggy had expected that Nkakad would begin calling the wives of his prisoners for ransom and a quick get away, but the guy was stuck on the obvious betrayal that had occurred, staged by Taurus and his female cousin.
Nkakad dwelled on it for more than fifteen minutes, describing the ways he would punish his cousin when he caught her. And from Ikpa and Hitler, the van driver’s expressions, Shaggy knew he’d probably been saying the same thing throughout the drive to Java’s house.
Apparently, Hitler couldn’t take a second more of it because he made a vague excuse about going to fuel the van and left the house, driving off in the van.
When the signature knock had sounded on the door a couple of minutes later, Shaggy had assumed that the fuel in the van had probably dried up and Hitler had trekked back to the house.
Ikpa had gotten up grumbling, while the two strange guys fidgeted where they’d been sitting all day…Shaggy had no pity for them, they should have collected the money Nkakad had offered them earlier.
But everything changed in seconds, the fidgeting guys suddenly became the aggressors. When Ikpa opened the door, probably forgetting to ask for confirmation because of Nkakad’s nagging, not that it would have changed anything, but he would have avoided what happened to him.
The butt of an AK47 rifle slammed into Ikpa’s face and he dropped like a sack of rice in a dead faint. The four guys at the door then filed into the sitting room so quickly, Nkakad had no chance to reach for his gun on the table.
And Shaggy was glad for that; if he had picked up that gun, it would have been a blood bath, seeing as this new crew wasn’t reasonable at all.
Their entrance occurred with the miasmatic stench of illicit gin and skunk; a chemically enhanced specie of marijuana which was a hundred times stronger than the ordinary marijuana.
After the initial shouts and confusion, they’d settled into the first order of the day, which was beating Nkakad to a pulp.
A few kicks had met Shaggy’s stomach from time to time but it was nothing compared to what Nkakad had to endure, it was as though they had scores to settle with him. It seemed to Shaggy like Nkakad must have offended them at one time.
Shaggy swallowed his growing anger and remained submissive, if he had to do what he’d sworn not to do, then he was going to punch Ebube in the face. He didn’t care if he’d hired him and still had the balance of his money pending.
The man had promised him that agents would get here, it seemed that promise had given been eons ago. It would not be difficult to save himself and walk out of here, but he’d made a promise and it wasn’t wise to offend the DSS Director of Security of Anambra state; the man was a freaking bulldog.
He endured another kick in the stomach and listened to the two guys laugh their heads off as their colleagues beat the shit out of Nkakad. Shaggy realized now that he had been right to suspect the two guys when he’d caught one of them quickly returning his phone into his pocket.
Apparently, when he’d gone to give the prisoners water, they’d quickly made a call for backup. Shaggy assumed they were just a bunch of local cult boys, but that fact didn’t diminish their deadliness one bit.
“Call the man,” one of them had barked and finally Nkakad had been given space to breathe.
The battered criminal had put the call to King Edem’s steward to bring the balance and then the six man crew had returned to torturing Nkakad.
Ikpa had not woken up from his faint and while they all waited for the steward to bring over seven hundred thousand, Shaggy prayed that King Edem hadn’t heard of the foiled attempt at kidnapping Morgan’s kids.
“I know he’s a bad person, but I kind of feel bad for him,” PJ whispered and Daniel nodded while they silently listened to Nkakad being beaten.
Slay had told them about the criminal and how he and Morgan had been about to meet with a contact when they’d been picked. Slay had no idea if it was planned that way or if this was just one giant coincidence.
They’d been glad to hear the blotched attempt to kidnap the children because of the security system in the school. Morgan had audibly thanked God that he’d agreed to change his children’s school last year; the guys agreed with him and refused to think what would have happened if their children had remained in their former school.
The beating had been going on for hours, far before the new crew members had come visiting their cell, promising they’d get to them later. PJ cringed every time a punch echoed down the passage; Daniel wasn’t immune to the sounds neither was Java.
Ebong, Slay and Morgan remained stoic since the situation had gotten more complicated with the new players. They probably weren’t bothered about the beating since they were force men.
Richard though, he’d been silent after Daniel had raged at him. PJ had never witnessed this level of retreat in the boy and he worried for him. He worried for all of them and he worried for the women whom he knew would be worrying for them too. He silently wondered how they were coping.
It wasn’t good; Debbie was throwing up and crying so hard, Wana wondered how she was breathing, since she was doing two extreme things at once, rather severely.
“Maybe you should remain in the car, aunty Debbie,” Stacey murmured worriedly.
“No!” Debbie immediately retorted and then heaved despite nothing coming out.
“If you are as hungry as the rest of us, I’m sure there nothing more in your stomach to puke,” Eddy commented while handing her a bottle of water, which she used to wash her face and rinse her mouth.
Cecil looked at her worriedly as she straightened to her full height, “I concur Stacey’s suggestion,” she said and Debbie vehemently shook her head, drank the water and took a deep breath.
Wana had to grudgingly agree that she seemed fine after her bout of crying, except the swollen eyes. “Only you would have your morning sickness in the night,” Wana joked and everybody laughed because they were relieved that Debbie laughed first…she was fine.
A car’s headlights shun on their parked cars beside a newly built house and the women strived to look away in a bid to hide their faces. Abigail looked up in time to see an old man drive by and kept driving towards the supposed house they were going to at the end of the cul-de-sac.
“He’s not stopping, Cecil,” she blurted excitedly, drawing the woman’s attention to the car that kept driving on and on, past all the other houses, and the bushes and then his tail light came on as he slowed and made a turn into a bush on the left; it only seemed that way, but they all knew there was a house in the middle of that bush holding their husbands.
“Did you see his face?” Eddy asked as she opened her car and pulled out the IMI Tavor TAR-21, after shoving on her DSS crested bulletproof vest…a vest they all currently wore.
Abigail swallowed at the sight of the gun. In all her imaginations on how this night would turn out, she’d never thought she’d come in contact with such a big gun.
Before they’d gotten to Nsukara, the area that had mistakenly been recorded on Wana’s call with her husband and according to Cecil’s phantom caller, the same location that the kidnapped men were kept; Cecil had decided that they had to make a small detour to the SSS headquarters.
Debbie and Wana hadn’t driven into the premises but Eddy and Cecil had, and in a couple of minutes, they were out again and they’d driven randomly though heading to the same location, all to avoid suspicion in the semi rural area of Nsukara. Well, until Debbie suddenly swerved to the side of the untarred road and hurried out to throw up.
“It’s an old man,” she replied despite the pounding of her heart because the sight of that big gun, apparently what Cecil had detoured to get from the office since she had one as well, made the situation all the more dangerous and real.
Cecil frowned at the information, “What would they want with an old man?”
“Whatever it is, it’s probably not good, so let’s hurry,” Eddy said anxiously and swung the strap of her gun across her shoulder in such a way that the gun hung from her back, easy to swing about and shoot in a quick move.
To Abigail, the sight of Eddy and Cecil with those guns not only scared her but filled her with awe, like she was looking at real life heroines; like she was suddenly staring at Wonder Woman in full regalia.
Except Eddy and Cecil were dressed in yoga pants and dim colored long tops, the same as everybody, apart from herself and Stacey who had on a skinny jean and a t-shirt.
“You could give me the small gun since you have a big one now,” Wana suggested to Eddy who promptly rolled her eyes in exasperation.
“There is a cutlass in Debbie’s car, that’s safer with you,” Eddy replied and closed her door.
Abigail looked at Stacey then and saw the terror she was feeling mirrored on her face and she was glad that she wasn’t the only sane person in this crew.
Usually, she would be running for the hills but the sight of this determined women did something visceral to her, it was so strong it was almost spiritual, like her very essence was changing.
“Kill joy,” Wana joked as she got the machete out and then shuddered, “Oh God, I’m so scared,” she blurted out in tears.
“Don’t,” Cecil warned in a voice that immediately cut off Wana’s tears and ended up making her feel embarrassed. “I’ll probably be relieved of duty as the Director of Security after this. I have endangered a lot of civilian lives this evening, but I trust in your courage,” she said, her eyes looking into the eyes of every woman there.
“I trust in your determination to protect your family, I thrust in your inherent strength, the one that made you travel as far as Bayelsa, climbed into the lair of a psychopath and victoriously got part of an evidence that locked him up for life.”
Abigail’s eyes widened at this point, turning in shock to meet that of Stacey, who nodded, confirming Cecil’s speech as truth.
“Well, we were young then and hadn’t yet given birth,” Wana joked but sniffled.
Debbie cleared her throat, her hand tightening round the wheel spanner than had been Wana’s former weapon, “I was pregnant and so were you, Wana, and Eddy had just given birth three months prior.”
“But we did it! Despite our fears, we did it because we couldn’t imagine Alero not ever being able to be with the man she loved or be with her child, after not seeing her for the six years she’d been in prison,” Eddy added, her voice rich with motivation.
Abigail felt like her eyes were about to pop out of their sockets and roll in the erosion beaten path; Stacey of course nodded again in confirmation, all she was hearing were true. It only meant that they beat Wonder Woman hands down, who was a mere Hollywood creation, these women were real life super heroes.
“You’re stronger than you think. The love you feel for your children, for your husbands, that burning in the pit of your stomach, that fierce heat, giving you the consciousness that you can jump through the fire for them, that’s what makes you invincible.”
“It makes you do the unimaginable and with God on our side, supporting this great act of love, of course, we’ll succeed. If I’m going to lose my job over this, we might as well do it right and I’d get to leave in a blaze of glory,” Cecil concluded.
“I am so ready to bash in some skulls,” Wana sneered, her face practically burning with the need.
“Me too,” Debbie said.
“Finally,” Stacey said, her mind documenting everything for when she’d meet up with Richard, if she ever met up with him. She knew he was in town and he’d still not called her.
“Err…” Abigail was speechless, and the women chuckled nervously and followed Cecil, jogging lightly along the untarred road the car had just driven, very close to the edge of the bush.
The area was still untapped and that meant not many houses had residents in them. Without Ebube’s contact, Cecil would never have known where to look. Despite the recording on Wana’s phone, the particular house would have been difficult to find because Nsukara was a freaking large community.
She had worried that the time spent at the hospital after the school might have caused a change of location. She hadn’t shared her worry with the women; though, Eddy probably had the same thought. But with activity going on this late, almost eleven pm, at the premises, Cecil was sure they were still there.
About fifteen yards from the turn into the compound, Cecil stopped and whispered that they had to use the bush, since the drive way up to the house was a bit extended, anybody from the house casually looking out a window could sight them coming.
Wana grumbled, even as Eddy assured her that the bush was more like a farm with cassava stalk, not like the wild bush they’d had to enter to get into the school.
Eddy led the way and Cecil guarded the rear. They could hear the hum of a small generating plant before they reached the house. The bush wasn’t much of a cover but without security bulbs, the darkness was a blessing.
DUCT SEASON 4 continues
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