When Sade heard Dozie say, ‘I love you, don’t give yourself up, they will kill you…’ she froze in her hide-out. Then she heard Taiwo saying, ‘…Now you have ten seconds to show yourself with your hands on your head…or your man dies. If I count ten and you are not here, I will shoot him and his blood will be on your head…’

Taiwo was a fool but he was right on one thing: Dozie’s blood would be on her head. He was sleeping quietly when she had came into his life.

‘Sade, come out now,’ Taiwo’s words crashed into her thought.

She had ten seconds. There were three men, at least. There was too little time to rescue Dozie.

‘One!…’ the man began to count.

Sade took a deep breathe.

‘Two!… Three!…’

Sade sighed.

‘Four!… Five!…’

Sade made her decision.


Sade threw her gun into the water.


‘Hold it!’ She shouted. She placed her hands on her head and jumped into the water. ‘I am here!’

Sade walked to the front of the men and stopped. ‘Now, you must let him go.’

One of the agents walked to Sade, searched her, found no weapon on her and applied the hand-cuffs. He began to lead Sade uphill.

Dozie rushed to her and hugged her. ‘Oh love, it’s my fault. I thought they killed you in the drug hide-out. I didn’t know what to do, so I went to the Headquarters and…’

‘It’s okay.’ Sade kissed his cheek.

‘It’s my fault!’ Dozie insisted.

‘This is no time for romance,’ the agent who hand-cuffed Sade rammed a barrel on Sade’s back. ‘Let’s move on.’

‘Yeah, Sade,’ Taiwo said. ‘Nothing personal, but I want us to get you to headquarters immediately.’

‘Of course, you are doing your job.’

Sade and Dozie were led to the van and watched by the expressionless eyes of four secret agents, each with a finger in the trigger of their guns, waiting for a wrong move as they climb the back of the van. Sade and Dozie didn’t put a foot wrong. They sat in the sagged bench. It was suffocating dark.

‘We know your reputation Sade, but try not to be heroic tonight or your brains will be packed in a sack,’ warned one of the three agents who climbed guard in the back.

The van began to move.

‘It’s my fault,’ Dozie whispered.

Sade took his hand. ‘We are lucky, I could have been killed in the helicopter crash.’

‘I am so sorry.’

‘You have said this a thousand times.’

‘If my entire body becomes a huge tongue I can’t tell you sorry enough.’
‘If half of your body becomes hope we will escape alive.’

‘I just hope for a painless death.’ Dozie’s voice was painfully low.

‘I only have one regret,’ Sade sighed.


‘I wish I met you in 2001.’

A tear rolled down Dozie’s bearded chin. He was happy the van was too dark for Sade to notice.

‘I have no regrets,’ he sounded brave. ‘Every second we have spent together is a century to my age. I have kissed you for a thousand years.’

‘And for another thousand we will.’

Their mouths defiled the darkness and danger, locked in a warm kiss. Every inch the van covered brought them closer to their death; even in the mouth of death they couldn’t hold their passion. If they made hell tonight they would kiss before Lucifer!

#                                             #                                             #                                             #

The order from the Ministry of Interior to the Director of Secret Service Lagos was clear; the fax read: ‘Hand Sade over to the Chinese dead or alive, then hand over authority to the next ranking officer and report to the Ministry with immediate effect.’ The time was 2.09am.

The director sighed. He scowled at the paper then handed it over for James the deputy director, Nosa the field director and Mrs Jide the tactical director to read. The three having devoured the content of the paper looked everywhere but the director’s face. They were sorry he was taking the blame for everything.

‘Before I hand over to James I have to decide on Sade. Do I hand her over dead or alive?’

‘Sade is a very complicated person,’ Nosa hurriedly said. ‘To be sure, let’s hand her over dead.’

‘Let her go,’ James countered. ‘If the Chinese must get her, let them catch her themselves.’

‘Are you asking the director to disobey a direct order?’ Mrs Jide inquired.

‘Nobody outside this building knows that Sade is in our custody.’

The director shook his head. ‘Handing her over is not the issue, James. The question is ‘‘dead or alive?’’ ’ The director paused and glared at his hands as though his fingers hold the secret answer. ‘I really wish to hand her over alive but like Nosa fears, Sade is so so complicated! She could kill some more Chinese people!’

‘Then handcuff her and hand her over! I insist we don’t have a hand in her death.’

‘James votes for us to hand her over alive. What do you suggest, Miriam?’

‘I am not a field person, do whatever you think is right,’ Mrs Jide said.

The director turned to the field director. ‘Nosa, what do we do?’

‘Hand her over dead.’

‘The votes are tied.’ The director sighed. ‘I am sorry James but I am going to hand Sade over dead.’ To Nosa, ‘Get me Agent Taiwo on the phone.’

#                                  #

The van stopped in a lonely road. It was drizzling heavily, 2.30am. Agent Taiwo got out of the van and stepped into semi-darkness with great reluctance. He admired and respected Sade so much. Now he had just received a hard call from the director, a painful one line, ‘Shoot her and bring her body to headquarters.’ No names were mentioned; it wasn’t ‘shoot Sade’, it was ‘shoot her’—her!

‘What about her boyfriend?’ Taiwo had inquired.

The director didn’t hesitate. ‘Bring him to headquarters.’ Him!

Taiwo wouldn’t disobey such order, he dare not; but he really had wished he could do something for the hapless Sade.

‘Bring her out,’ Taiwo ordered his men.

‘The end is here,’ Sade whispered to Dozie.

Dozie’s lips shook. ‘I am coming with you.’

‘No,’ Sade said, ‘stay behind and mourn me. The reason why I have ran away from death and evade it all my life is because I didn’t have anyone to mourn me. Now I have you. You are family, you…’

A rough hand grabbed Sade on her shoulder and she looked into the blinding beam of a powerful torchlight.

‘I need a moment with my man,’ Sade requested.

‘This is not a marriage bureau.’

‘Do you believe in life after death,’ Dozie asked as they began to drag Sade away.

‘I believe in love after death…’ Sade began but stopped when she was brought before Taiwo, sandwiched by two agents.

‘Remove the handcuffs on her,’ Taiwo ordered. ‘Sade,’ his voice was sad, ‘I am so sorry. The forces against you are so strong, even superman cannot beat it. I have been ordered to shoot you.’

‘Carry out your order.’ Sade’s voice was unruffled. ‘I know how this works.’

A gunshot reported in the back of the van and someone cried out with pain.

‘What’s that?’ Taiwo shouted.

‘It is her boyfriend. He attacked me and I…’

‘You what!?’

‘I am sorry, sir.’

Slowly, Sade fell into a faint.

Taiwo rushed to the van. ‘The director will have your hide for this,’ he shouted into the culprit agent’s face. He turned to the agents with Sade. ‘Take her to the bush and do it.’

The two agents lifted Sade up, put her hands around their shoulders and began to drag her feet to the bush. To get to the bush they had to cross a big gutter. They stopped to carry her over. It was then that Sade acted. She removed her hand from a shoulder and sent an elbow into the belly of the first agent who fell into the gutter. The second agent quickly grabbed his gun hung around his neck but Sade was on him. She grabbed the barrel and twisted it so that two bullets meant for her shot at the first agent as he was struggling out of the gutter. The agent who had shot Dozie and Agent Taiwo came running towards Sade. The barrel was placed on Sade’s belly but as the trigger was pressed she shifted the gun off her belly and the agent who had shot Dozie got a bullet in the stomach. Taiwo dropped on his feet, drawing out his pistol but before he could fire Sade had pushed the pawn-agent down and had jumped across the gutter into the bush.

Taiwo and the assaulted agent came to a stand at the edge of the gutter and fired volumes of bullets into the bush.

‘How did you let this happen?’ Taiwo roared.

‘We thought she fainted.’

‘Thought! I have lost two men and Sade is loosed and you thought!’

The other agent knew it was wisdom to keep quiet.

‘What are you standing here doing? Go into the bush and get her!’

The junior agent hesitated. ‘Do I go alone?’

Taiwo didn’t want to risk himself and the driver-agent. Whatever happened somebody must report to headquarters. ‘Yes, you go alone!’

The junior agent sighed. ‘I feel it is better I go with somebody—‘

‘I don’t care what you feel! You created the problem and I order you to go in there and solve it!’

The other didn’t move. ‘Sade,’ he sighed.

‘Sade is unharmed for God’s sake!’

‘Sade is also a woman,’ the driver-agent said.

‘She is a woman, she is unharmed but Sade is Sade!’

‘That is your problem!’

The other agent couldn’t argue further, he looked like a patient set for the surgery theatre. He jumped into the bush and with unsteady steps began to walk into the darkness of the bush! Walking into the lion’s cage wouldn’t have been more fearfully done.

Meanwhile, Dozie lay on the pool of his own blood, dying.

#                                 #

The director looked at his wrist watch for the one thousandth time. The time was 7am. He had been ordered to report to Abuja five hours back. But he was also ordered to hand Sade over dead or alive. And they didn’t know what was happening with Sade. Taiwo’s phone number was unavailable and there was no way they could know about Sade. The director was getting restless! None of the officers had slept a wink throughout the night.

‘Just report to Abuja while I cover here,’ James said. ‘I believe Taiwo had taken care of the whole thing. ‘

‘I am not moving one inch until Sade is caught,’ The director said.

‘The Ministry is expecting you.’

‘To hell with the Ministry!’

‘Let’s send helicopters down to the jungle,’ Nosa suggested.

‘Let’s sew the roads up. Let’s alert the police,’ Mrs Jide added.

The director considered these. ‘Well, get six helicopters into the jungle. It is early to start a manhunt for Sade.’

Nosa rose and left the room.

The director slammed his fist into his palm. ‘Sade? Sade! If it is the last thing I do as director, I am going to catch you!’

The telephone rang and Mrs Jide who was near it lifted the receiver. She listened for a moment then spoke to the room. ‘Taiwo and the one agent are back. Two of our agents are dead, Sade escaped but her boyfriend who is on custody is badly wounded.’

The director’s forehead exposed three lines—frustration, rage, determination. but in the next instance, he was in charge of the situation. ‘James, get the medical unit working on Sade’s boyfriend, he is top priority. We need him alive, we would use him to catch Sade if the need arises. Miriam, get Sade’s picture over to the police, the emigration, hotels and hospitals. Let the police mount road-blocks in all high-ways and shut all exits. It is an emergency. Finding Sade should be red lamp. And she should be taken dead or alive! As she is dangerous my advise is shoot at sight.’

#                                   #

Jemimah wiped the tears in her large eyes. Early this morning, around three am, her husband Field Agent Jerry had called her phone. Their three years old marriage was used to turmoil and yesterday morning they had had a bitter fight. So when this morning Jerry had woken her up with a call, she thought it was a call for truce and decided to play hard. She didn’t connect his calls, but her phone rang with persistence and at the fifteenth ring she connected it.

‘What is it?’ she had asked hotly.

‘Today could be my last day on earth,’ her husband’s voice was filled with fear.

Jemimah’s malice fence began to crumble. ‘What is that?’ Or could this be his newest tactics for getting a cheap forgiveness?

‘I am in the bush at this moment, confronting one of the most dangerous agents on earth.’

‘An agent? I don’t understand.’

‘She was an agent. She must have offended the government and they want her dead. We had her but she managed to escape. I can’t go into details but in case I don’t come back, tell our son Victor. Tell him that I love him. Tell him I was a great dad.’

Jemimah didn’t understand.  She sat up. ‘Did you say a woman?’

‘Yes a war-man. I just saw her kill two men and I was holding the gun for her! She killed Ibrahim.’

Ibrahim was there wedding best man. Jemimah’s heartbeat was now louder than the tick-tock of the clock. She felt so weak with giddiness. She was thankful she was on the bed.

‘Now you are going after this wild woman?’

‘In case I don’t come back…’

‘You must come back!’ her voice reeked with desperation. Widowhood. Single parentage. Black mourning dress, pity and possibly poverty stared bare-teeth at her.

‘I will do my best to be back,’ he said. ‘I will have to go now. I love you so much.’

Jemimah could only manage a whisper. ‘You are the best husband in the world.’

At six o’clock she had dialled his phone number, switched off; seven o’clock, switched off; eight o’clock, switched off. She was now a tearful wretch. Victor was crying for her attention, she was yet to prepare breakfast and there was office to go to. But the only thing that occupied her mind was Jerry, Jerry, Jerry!

What she lacked in energy she made up in tears. Her tears poured down her face, down her neck through her collars into her underwears.

At last her phone rang. She jerked it up and screamed with delight when she saw it was her husband’s number. She was so excited her hand shook.

‘Is that Jerry’s wife?’

A woman’s voice! A hard voice! If she said yes, the carpet would be pulled under her feet! She would be told, ‘I am sorry to tell you this but your husband is dead.’ Or, sorry, we have some bad news. Could you come down to the headquarters and identity your husband’s body?—

‘HELLO!’ the voice forced her back to reality.

‘Yes, yes, I am his wife. Is he hurt? Please tell me the truth!’

‘He is not very hurt but it could get worse if you don’t listen carefully. I am Sade and I have your husband hostage. You do what I tell you or you will have to come for his body.’

Jemimah understood perfectly. This was the woman who had offended the government. The woman who had killed Ibrahim, this woman had her husband hostage!’

Sade was instructing her: ‘Get a wig, a lace gown, two wrappers, glasses, a handbag, a pair of high-heeled shoes, a mirror…’

Jemimah was nodding her head to the words. The more the words come, the more the chances of her husband surviving grew. This woman was dangerous, her husband had attested to that. She wouldn’t play with her. she would get the things for her, wherever the address was. Although Jerry was a fool, he was Above-average husband.

#                                 #

It was 1pm; the director, the deputy, the field director and the tactical director were in dishevelled positions in the control room: The director was sighing and walking around the telephone area, the deputy director had his hands across his chest, the field director’s head rested on his palm while the tactical director, her lips sad was staring at the telephone as though it was her sick child. They were all waiting to hear about Sade.

‘We have got a very inefficient police force in Lagos,’ Nosa commented.

‘You guys should go for recess,’ the director said. ‘I will wait for news.’

‘If we don’t get news, what do we do? We cannot just sit here all day,’ James said.

‘If we don’t get news,’ the director lifted his fist, ‘we shall get news. If we don’t get it, we must get it!’ tiny threads of saliva poured out of his mouth.

The phone rang. The director snapped it up. ‘Hello.’

‘Some men from the Ministry of Interior want to see you, sir,’ announced the receptionist.

His voice, laden with disappointment the director said, ‘Send them in.’

In few moments two men smartly dressed in suits were ushered into the control room. ‘You were expected in the Ministry ten hours ago,’ one of them said after the curt introduction.

‘I was told to hand Sade over to the Chinese,’ the director said, quietly.

‘Sade was in custody when the order was given,’ the speaker reminded him. ‘And you let her slip out of your hands!’

The director smiled ruefully. ‘I shall catch her,’ he affirmed.

‘By throwing the entire police force into turmoil?’

The director held his temper with both hands. Oh, how he wanted to grab the young slob from the Ministry on the neck and shake him vigourously till he understood the difference between sitting in an office and being in the field.

‘We have a plane ticket for you,’ the second Ministry man began, ‘the plane leaves in thirty minutes’ time; if we hurry we will catch it.’

The director didn’t here well. ‘We haven’t caught Sade.’

‘That is no longer your problem, hand over to your deputy.’

The director opened his mouth to speak but two gunshots sounded somewhere in the building, cutting his voice. Heart-beats quickened.

‘What was that?’

The phone rang. The director made for it but the arrogant voice of one of the Ministry men stopped him. ‘Hand that phone over to the next ranking officer.’

With brave shame, the director handed the phone over to James. ‘What are the gunshots for?’ the acting director asked.

‘Sade is in the building,’ came the clear voice of the receptionist.

The ex-director’s hands turned into fist, the acting director tightened his grip on the phone, the field director caught a sharp breath and the tactical head sighed. Only the Ministry fellows remained unmoved by the news of Sade’s invasion.

‘What is her position?’ James asked.

‘She seems to be heading to the second floor.’

The control room was in the second floor. The directors understood. More gunshots. ‘It’s okay; we will take it from here.’ James returned the receiver to its cradle. He made for his pistol on his belt. Agents in the directorate ranks hardly carry their guns around but not James, his long years in the field had instilled on him an unbroken bond with his pistols. Nosa equally drew out his gun; he was hopelessly paranoid, and was always on red alert.

Gunshots continued to boom in the building.

‘We go get Sade,’ James said.

‘Of course.’

Outside the control room, James told Nosa that Sade was to be taken alive.

‘She is too dangerous.’

‘Yes, but you don’t shoot to kill.’


‘I am in charge Nosa. You take orders from me or you stand down.’

Nosa shrugged. He wasn’t going to argue any longer but he wasn’t going to allow Sade a second on earth if he got the chance.

‘Take the left while I take the right passage, we will trap her between the two of us,’ James said.

#                                        #

Sade was dressed in a rich lace gown over gorgeous wrappers and a large powerful head scarf with glasses and a pair of high heeled shoes to match. The gatemen didn’t recognise her, she appeared to them a rich Igbo woman fresh from August Meeting; at the reception, the guards wanted to inspect her ID card closely and they both got bullets on their legs. As Sade ran up the stairs, with her shoes flying behind her, agents began to troop out from doors like ants from a burning piece of wood, running after her. Sade got to the end of the stairs she fell on her belly, facing her back. Two agents showed themselves, they were in a violent haste to cover ground. They saw Sade at the same time as Sade saw them; Sade was a shade faster. Two gunshots and one of them was hit in the arm. The other dived back and fell with a heavy crash.

Sade ran downstairs shooting forward. The agents on her heels retreated wildly. Sade stopped before the agent whom she had wounded, she snatched his gun and knocked him unconscious on the head. She began to run up. Near the end of the stairs she heard faint footsteps and stopped; the steps got closer, she swamped on the floor shooting both guns, crippling two agents in the process. In a flash she jumped unto the stairway.

At the end of the stairs she decided to turn right which was closer to the control room. The left passage turned three times while this one turned once. She ran into Nosa who shot at her. She had only pipped into the passage he was, so had quickly withdrawn her head when Nosa fired. Sade was trapped. Agents were on her heels from the stairs, here was Nosa on this passage. And if she didn’t act first the other passage was bound to bring oppositions. She had to act fast. Nosa was using a police special pistol. Nine bullets. He had shot one. She pipped again, he shot twice at her. Six bullets to go. She put her hand into the passage and squeezed the trigger. Nosa responded with three bullets. Good Sade thought. ‘Now waste all your bullets.’ She threw one of her pistol on the passage floor. Nosa on the look-out for danger emptied his magazine at it. Sade appeared in the passage and pointed her gun at him. ‘Drop your gun!’

Nosa hesitated, she shot him on his wrist. She walked to him, grabbed him on the collar and jerked him up. ‘Where is the director?’

‘I don’t know.’

Sade placed her pistol barrel on his lap. ‘Where is the director?’

‘In the control room.’

‘Let’s go there.’

#                                  #                                  #                                  #

The disgraced director, Mrs Jide and the two Ministry officers were seated in the control room when Sade and Nosa got to the door.

‘I have the field director hostage,’ Sade announced, ‘open the door or he dies.’

‘What do you want?’ the ex-director asked Sade.

‘I want to have a cup of coffee with you.’

‘I don’t drink coffee with fugitives. You are wanted by the law, Sade. If I may advise you, drop your gun and hand yourself over.’

‘You don’t negotiate with a gun. Open the door or your field director dies. ‘

‘Please open the door,’ Nosa heaved.

The ex-director made for the door but the two ministry officers wouldn’t let him. ‘You don’t expose us to unnecessary danger,’ one of them said. ‘We believe that the girl Sade is highly reactive.’

‘Reactive?’ the former director nearly laughed out. ‘That is an understatement! The girl is too dangerous. She will kill my field director.’

‘We can’t help him,’ the second Ministry officer said.

‘I can,’ the director was firm.

‘You stop there.’ The men from the Ministry came to stand between the director and the door.

The director sighed. ‘This is murder.’

‘It is caution.’

Sade had had enough. ‘I count ten then I shoot your field director. One!… Two!…’

‘We can’t let him die,’ Mrs Jide chipped.

‘We can’t help him.’


‘This is totally unacceptable,’ the officer said.

Sade counted four.

Sade counted five.

Sade counted six.

‘To hell with you,’ the humiliated director flared. He gave an upper-cut to the first Ministry officer and an elbow on the other’s lung. As they fell apart he rushed to the door and opened it just as Sade counted nine.

#                                     #

Sade watched as the director tied Mrs Jide’s wrist using a necktie behind her and then tied the Ministry men’s wrists together using their belts. She ushered the director to a chair and sat opposite him, her gun on her front on the table.

‘After this,’ the director pointed at the humiliated Ministry men on the floor, ‘I don’t think I will ever get a fair hearing at the Ministry.’

‘I didn’t get a fair hearing before you unleashed the Chinese on me,’ Sade said.

‘I didn’t unleash anybody on you.’

‘Why then do Chinese want me dead?’

‘I think we are here for a cup of coffee.’

‘You will drink enough coffee when we are through. For now, if you don’t want a red coffee answer my questions precisely. Why am I been thrown to the wolves, Mr Director? I served you well; I threw my life away for this Service. I have endured every kind of humiliation known to man. At least I deserve to know why I am being left offside.’

‘Mr Director’s’ face crumbled with so much pity that if Sade hadn’t been trained in the theatrics of the Service she would have been moved.

‘The Chinese want you for the Chinese national you killed in Shanghai in 2008.’

There was a minute silent.

‘I didn’t do any Chinese in 2008!’

‘You were in China in 2008.’

‘I was in Beijing! I was there to master Mandarin.’

‘It is in the file, you killed the Chinese man. The Chinese have a long memory, you know and now that our government need them for some profit, the Chinese want your head.’

Sade jumped to her feet, choking with emotions she didn’t know she possessed. ‘This is conspiracy!’ I have had dealings with China but never in Shanghai!’ Sade tightened her grip on the gun pointing to the director’s head. ‘I am going to kill you for this. Why am I been sacrificed?’

The older officer shrugged. ‘I have to die for it then. I was the director in Rivers State in 2008. A week ago the Ministry asked me to hand over the Shanghai 2008 File. Your name was on it!’

‘It’s false!’

A small noise, like the movement of a cat sounded on the roof. Sade and the director looked up in time to see an object the size of a fuse fall from a parted portion of the ceiling unto the desk before them and began to gush with air.

‘What is this?’ Sade was alarmed.

The director smiled mischievously. ‘They want us to sleep. Hahahaha.’

And in the next moment Sade’s feet became too weak for her body. She saw the director’s mouth begin to slack to a grotesque side and his pupils rolling away. When she realised the same things were happening to her, she was already overpowered by unconsciousness.

#                                    #

‘I want to see Dozie,’ Sade said to James. She was seated in the dim-lit interrogation room; her hands rested on the desk were hand-cuffed. She had regained consciousness in the cell where she stayed for hours before been brought here.

‘Dozie is dead,’ James said.

Sade shook her head. ‘It can’t be. If Dozie is dead, I will feel a hole in my heart. i can’t feel such hole. He is alive.’

James smiled. ‘You are getting too soft Sade. Sades don’t talk love.’

‘Sades have blood flowing in their veins; Sades don’t run on petrol.’

James smiled. ‘You are so soft Sade, now you have become a poet!’

‘Who killed the Chinese man in 2008? You were the field director then, you know I didn’t go to Shanghai.’

‘I know.’

Sade’s face crowded. ‘Why then are the Chinese pursuing me?’

‘The person who killed the Chinese man was the then Director of the Service in Lagos. He had a personal issue with the Chinese. His twin sister had died taking fake drugs from China. He was in China for a holiday and decided to settle the Shanghai punk. As directors were not allowed into the field we put your name on the file. We didn’t know that the Chinese will turn around to ask for the agent’s name.’

‘Why on earth didn’t you give the name of the ex-director?’ Sade shot to her feet.

‘We couldn’t. the then Director is presently the National Security Adviser. He is untouchable.’

Sade sat down. ‘I want to see my man,’ she said.

‘You will see him but not now. I have something to discuss with you. Nobody knows you are here; they think I have handed you over to the Chinese.’

Sade didn’t understand. ‘Why are you flaunting a federal order?’

‘You see, you don’t know it but I have been helping you all this while. On the first day of the hunt, I was the one who sent you the text message warning you of the Chinese. It was I who asked Agent Pius to save your life. I have had a tough time here speaking in your defence.’

‘I guess I am supposed to say thank you.’

‘You don’t have to,’ James said. ‘I didn’t save your life for your own good. I did it for my good. I have defected to the Russia and they ask me to bring you as part of the deal. The Chinese want you dead but the Russians need your service. You are not going down Chinese road. You and I are going to Russia!’

‘Go to hell!’

James laughed evilly. ‘We will see about that.’ He walked to the door and opened it. A short burly pallid man walked into the room. James shut the door behind him. ‘Sade, meet Mr Hernandez. You don’t know him; he is the Cuban Russian spy, husband to the woman you killed in Cameroon! He is our ticket to Russia.’

Sade opened her mouth to talk, but she found it too dry for words.

The minute hand of the clock joined the hour hand at twelve. The end of Day Six.

Sade 4