The Philips’ Residence.
Raymond ran into the house, looked around the sitting and dinning room areas then entered the kitchen. It was empty. He came out of the kitchen and stood before the door of the visitor’s bedroom with his gun before him just as he was taught in the police academy. His overweight partner struggled behind him, breathing hard like a man who just ran a twenty-mile marathon. Raymond turned around to look at his partner who was leaning on a wall to catch his breath. “You should get rid of the weight,” he said, shaking his head.
“Give me a moment to catch my breath,” Supo said.
Raymond pushed the door to the room open and entered the dark room, searching for the light switch on the wall.
Supo watched as Raymond disappeared into the room. “This job will not kill me,” he wiped the dripping sweat off his face with the back of his left hand, then pushed himself away from the wall.
Raymond came out of the room. “There’s nothing here. I will check upstairs.”
“I am right behind you,” Supo watched his partner climb the stairs with caution.
“Drop the gun and get down on your knees very slowly,” Sugar whispered behind the fat police officer.
Supo attempted to turn around quickly but he was as fast as a large whale.
The officer fell heavily, sprawled out on the floor. Sugar and Diana stood over him.
“What did you do that for?” Diana bent down and checked the pulse of the officer. “Thank goodness he is still alive.” She stood up. “We should get out of here.”
Sugar dropped the stool he used to knock out the officer and looked up at the stairs. “We came here for something and we should get it before we leave.”
Diana was adamant. “I don’t think it is wise to go ahead with our plan. The police may be here with reinforcements any minute now. We should leave,” she cautioned.
Sugar opened the bag that he brought with him and removed a gun. “Kokoro would be very upset if we don’t return with some money. This people are rich. They must keep money somewhere in this house. Let’s look for it.”
“What happens if the other police officer opens fire on us?” Diana asked with fear in her voice.
Sugar checked the weapon in his hand and removed the safety clip. “We kill him.”
Diana had a look of apprehension on her face. “We came here to find some money and leave. I don’t want to kill anyone,” she said.
Sugar grabbed her arm. “You will do exactly as I say or you will find yourself right back in the streets where I picked you from. Do you understand me?”
Diana nodded. Her eyes went to the officer lying on the floor.
“Wait here with him. If he comes to, point this gun at him,” he gave Diana the policeman’s weapon. “I will be back,” he said and went up the stairs.
Roberto was lying on his back. Shade ran quickly to his side and knelt down on the floor bedside him. The bullet merely grazed his leg and left a spot of blood on his trousers.
“Darling, please don’t die,” Shade cried.
Ngozi pointed the gun at the man on the floor. “You are so pathetic. Get away from him. If you don’t, I will shoot you both,” she said with anger.
Shade turned and looked at her. “I don’t care what you do to me. If Roberto dies, my life is not worth living anymore. You may as well kill us both,” Shade said.
“Shade, don’t say that,”Roberto managed to say. He looked up at Ngozi. “Please don’t kill me,” he begged for his life.
Shade hissed like a serpent. “She is too scared to do anything to you.”
Ngozi’s eyes did not leave the man on the floor. “You will die for the sins you both committed against Gbenga.”
Shade stood in front of the gun. “Your lover is dead, sunk in the lagoon. Even if you kill Roberto, my joy is that I deprived you from stealing what belonged to me.”
“Gbenga never belonged to you. He was just using you.”
“He was using me?” Shade asked.
Ngozi chuckled. “He knew he was infertile, that was why he wanted a woman who already had a child. All that talk about visiting doctors and having tests was a show he put up for you. Gbenga was as fertile as a rock!” Ngozi laughed wickedly relishing the pain she saw on Shade’s face.
“And you knew this but didn’t tell me?” Shade asked.
“How could I tell you that your husband was infertile and couldn’t have kids? Why should I? You tricked him to marry you with your lies. I loved him and wanted to be with him, but you used him as a springboard to launch yourself into the social limelight.”
Shade was livid. “You watched as we did tests upon worthless tests, spent all that money, yet you kept quiet? You were never my friend! You are evil!”
“No, Shade. You are the evil one.” Ngozi lowered the gun. “I never pretended to be a saint, but you on the other hand deceived us all and brought your lover into your home to replace your husband. You are despicable!”
“Chief, my men didn’t find the girl,” said the inspector general of police with some sadness in his voice. “They searched the area but found no sign of her in the vicinity.”
“Are you sure about this?” Dotun asked. His head began to throb with pain.
“Some men we found loitering in the area said they helped to rescue a drowning man from the lagoon. A hysterical woman ran up to them at a restaurant and asked for their help. But before our men got there the woman had disappeared with the man.”
Dotun thought for a moment. “Do your men have a description of the couple they helped?”
“In fact, they do.” The police chief read out a description. “That was what they saw. Do those features mean anything to you?”
As Dotun listened to the description of the woman, his pulse quickened. How could this not mean something to him? Those features had been burnt indelibly into his brain. Her skin, her scent, her softness, her face. He couldn’t forget. That was the description of the maid. “No, they don’t mean anything to me. I have no idea who those people are,” Dotun lied to the police chief.
“Are you sure? These are the only people found in that vicinity tonight.”
“I am very sure. Thank you for your help tonight,” he said.
“I wish we had found the girl. At least we will be sure that she’s still alive. I will keep some of my men posted in that area for a few more hours in case something turns up.”
“I deeply appreciate it,” Chief Babalore ended the call.
He leaned back in his chair. If Yemi was alive, that meant he could still get to the bottom of her pregnancy. If she was still in Lagos, he would hunt her down and find her no matter where she was hiding. First thing in the morning he would send out her description to his contacts. There are very few places a girl of her kind would go. When she gets to those places, his men would be waiting for her.
Why would anyone want a common maid dead, he wondered as he stood up and went upstairs to join his wife in bed.
Kola Esho woke up from a troubled sleep. He had been dreaming about debt collectors chasing him through the streets of the ghetto. He managed to elude them at the market place by running into the massive crowd. He rubbed his face with both hands to get the sleep off his eyes. The moonlight streamed through the window upon his wife, floating over her body like a halo. She stirred in her sleep, turned to the open window and continued sleeping.
There was a knock on the door.
He got out of bed, put on a shirt and went to the front door.
“Who is it?” He asked with trepidation.
“Daddy, it’s me Yemi. Please open the door.”
“Yemi, is that you? What are you doing here at this time of the night?” He made no move to open the door. The ghetto was notorious for its robberies. An imposter could be pretending to be his daughter.
“Daddy please open the door. I really need your help. If you don’t help me now my husband will die!”
His daughter wasn’t married but he heard the desperation in her voice and knew it was Yemi. He quickly opened the door. He popped out his head and looked around to make sure there weren’t any more people apart from his daughter and her supposed husband. “I had to be sure it was you. What is going on and who is this man with you?”
Yemi knelt in front of the door holding a man in her arms. The man was dripping wet.
“Daddy, please help me,” she wept. “Please don’t let Gbenga die!”
To be continued.