Violence can be conquered by greater violence—Frantz Fanon.
And so also terrorism.
Read the Opening Episode Here.
Sade opened her eyes and quickly shut them as pain surged from her skull through her body, to her heels. She was lying on the ground in a dark room. For how long? She couldn’t tell. She supported herself on an elbow and sat up. She was in terrorists’ den! She turned to the window, a zinc affair with tiny spotty openings that gave the room its brave attempt at illumination. She reached the wall of the window, and pushed it. It was rock jammed. She crawled to the door and shook it. It was locked, from outside. She was imprisoned, tightly. But she wouldn’t give in to this; she wouldn’t go so cheaply. Surely, there must be a way out. In fact, there need be no way, but if she was Sade she would create the way out.
Shaka laughed a dry metallic laugh. He was seated on the mat-covered floor of a dimly lit, poorly ventilated room, his legs under him. He was a thin, heavily bearded man, dressed in the full regalia of a warrior-clergyman, with rosaries and amulets; his holy book by this side, his machine gun by the other. His laugh, of course, didn’t reach his red-shot viper eyes. ‘So Sade is here with us?’ he addressed this question to Sami who stood before him.
‘Kwarai.’ Sami nodded.
‘You ought to have killed her there and then,’ Husseini said. He was the greyer, older version of Shaka; Shaka’s Nestor.
Shaka nodded his support.
‘I can go finish her off,’ Sami said.
‘Not yet, I have an idea.’ Shaka turned to Husseini. ‘We can test Boka’s medicine on her.’
‘Are you sure it will work on her?’
‘What have we to lose? If it doesn’t work, we shoot her.’
Husseini nodded. ‘That is worth a trial.’
‘Bala!’ Shaka hailed. ‘Tata!’
Two mal-nourished youths entered the room. ‘Bala, get me my box. Tata, go bring that bitch here.’
When Tata unlocked the door and sunlight threw a yellow hand into the room, he held his breath. Sade lay on the ground, unconscious, her shirt drawn so that it exposed a large chunk of her breasts. A sexual urge shot through Tata’s spine and he trembled with desire. Kick the bitch to consciousness and drag her to Shaka, his mind ordered. He had never laid a woman all his life. In fact, all his life he hadn’t been so close to such nudity. His spirit wanted to honour Shaka’s message but his body needed a little amusement… He dropped his gun by his side, placed one knee-cap on sand and dropped a sweaty palm on Sade’s bosom.
At the same time, Shaka was getting impatient. He had his box by his elbow and had brought out a small bottle of black liquid and a syringe. ‘What is keeping Tata?’ he demanded.
‘The girl is good-looking, Sami?’ Husseini asked.
Sami shifted uneasily before his superiors. ‘I can say yes if I am allowed to notice such trivial matter.’
‘What is the matter?’ Shaka demanded.
‘Tata is having good time with the girl. Hihihihihi.’
‘That’s a deadly mistake. Sami, go get that rat and the girl here.’
Sami stamped out of the mud hall. He hurried passed the buses, lorries and cars parked before the hall, cursing under his breath as the sun burnt his senses. By the time he crossed the haphazardly cleared guinea corn field into a cluster of huts his temper was snapping hot. He would kill Tata when he laid his hands on the bastard. He passed youths smoking hemps and talking in groups, each wielding his gun like a nomad’s stick. He stopped at the hut where Sade was held prisoner and quickly drew out his pistol. Sade was gone. Lying on the ground in a pool of blood and feasted by an army of flies was Tata, dead.
Sami’s heart broke into turmoil. He brought out his phone and dialled.
‘Shaka, walahi ta gudu. Ta kashe Tata.’
‘Ran to where?’ Shaka screamed. ‘How did she kill Tata? What nonsense are you talking?’
‘Shut up, you fool and find her immediately. I need her here, alive! Wawa. Banza.’
Sami sighed as he returned the phone his hip. He should have known better. Sade was still Nigeria’s top agent. He should have shot her when he captured her; he would have avoided this mess. He fed his angry lips with a whistle and began to blow hateful blasts
Sade held her breath as the footfalls continued to draw closer. Her back was plastered on a tree and Tata’s gun held on the ready, more like a club than a firearm. There were two of them, she could tell from their footfalls. As they got to the tree, she emerged and knocked her gun on the first man’s neck. He lurched forward and fell to his knees. The second man lifted his gun but Sade was faster. He gasped, dropped his gun and fell. Sade drew out the knife from his stomach and faced the first who was crawling to his gun.
She lifted him by the ankle and began to drag him into the bush. His face was on the ground, but Sade didn’t notice. Her only resolve was to take him as far away from his fallen colleague as possible. His groans as she dragged him only made her more determined to start working on him. She stopped moving at a clearing over one hundred metres from the other. She dropped his leg and kicked him on the belly.
‘Aughh,’ he moaned.
Sade examined his face. His thin rectangular face and tribal marks meant he could be a Chadian. But he could also be of the north eastern borderline areas. He would understand Hausa. Sade’s inflected Hausa was rusty. She wished she had paid more attention during her Hausa lessons in Yari SS Camp, Bauchi which lasted for a year. But it wasn’t solely her fault. The authorities in Abuja kept interrupting her classes to send her on assignments overseas. But she would manage. She would talk a little and make him feel more heat.
She bent down to work. She tore off his cloth and tied his hands on his back. Then she placed him reclining on a tree. ‘I am going to question you,’ she said, the bloodied knife on his face. ‘I don’t want to torture you. If you let me torture you, you are going to pass through hell.’ She squatted before him. ‘How many girls did you people kidnap and where exactly are they quartered?’
He looked at her with sly arrogance and said nothing. ‘Answer me. Where exactly are the girls quartered?’
He twisted his mouth with obstinacy but didn’t open it.
Sade grabbed his ear and began to cut. An evil scream, the final cry of a trapped beast, broke from his mouth and tore the terrorist forest like a knife on rotten fabric. Sade quickly elbowed his chin and pressed down his mouth on the sand with her heel. ‘Shut up, you fool!’ The blood from his ear was flowing into his eyes, nose and mouth. He was now only whimpering. Sade withdrew her leg, made for a piece of his torn shirt which she rolled into a ball and stuffed into his mouth.
‘Now, you cannot shout. I will continue to cut your ear. If you still don’t want to talk, I will cut it off. Then I will go to the other ear. If you are ready to talk nod your head.’ Sade went on her knees and resume cutting the ear. The fellow threw his legs forward, shaking his entire being ruthlessly like a worm sprinkled with salt. Sade didn’t relent. She continued till she cut off his ear. ‘I have not even begun with you,’ she said. ‘You say you are a terrorist. I am also a terrorist. There is a saint and a terrorist inside every one. It is a matter of knowing which one to let shine. You have allowed terrorism glory in you because you are motivated by hate. I am also a terrorist, motivated by the green white green flag. And if it is the last thing I do, I am going to break you. Terrorism can only be conquered by greater terrorism.’
She removed the ball in his mouth. ‘Are you going to talk?’ He spat at her. She jammed his lips with a backhand. She re-stuffed his mouth. ‘We are wasting time. Now, I am going to make you talk.’ She made for his trousers and brought out his phallus, a leathery pencil. Sade hadn’t being with a man in ages, but the sight of this genital sickened rather than arouse her.
‘I am going to start cutting. I ask for the last time, where are the girls quartered?’ his eyes shone terror. When she placed her knife on the tip of his engine, her instincts showed yellow. She stopped moving and listened for a moment; slowly her instincts turned a burning red. She had company.
Sami stopped at the body of the rebel Sade had been torturing. He was lifeless. Sami turned to his two comrades. ‘She is close by, find her!’ The two men made away in different directions, their guns trigger-ready.
Sade is getting too hot, Sami thought ruefully, his fault. Shaka would have his hide.
Sami turned sharply to see a co-insurgent fall.
He turned the other side to see his second colleague fall. He pointed his pistol forward.
‘Drop that gun!’ Sade was behind him. He was trapped. ‘I thought you guys were tough but you are as easy as knocking sheep off… I say drop that gun and put your hand on your head!’
Sami hesitated; he half-turned and Sade shot him on the hand. He fell on his belly, writhing in agony. Sade came and squat over him, she grabbed him by the hair and whispered. ‘You saw me in action in the Niger Delta and you know what I am capable of. I just have one question for you, where are the girls?’
‘Shoot me.’ Sami heaved. ‘Kill me.’
‘I don’t have to; I didn’t come here for you. I am here for the girls, where are they?’
He shut his eyes. ‘Kill me. Better Sade than Shaka.’
Sade’s creativity snapped into action. She put her gun aside and turned Sami around. She lifted his hand and examined it. ‘It is not too bad. She removed his turban and began to tire his wound. ‘You were once a Federal agent. It’s not too late to come back…’
‘Shaka will kill me.’
‘He can’t. I will protect you. Team up with me and…’ Sade stopped. She sensed she had new company. She reached for her gun. ‘Leave that gun where it is,’ a stern voice warned. She was motionless. A steel hand grabbed her collar and drew her up. She stood before a gorilla whose nose twitched with nullification. Sade lifted a fist to strike him. But someone grabbed her hand from behind. She turned her head. Something crashed on her head. Blackout.
Sade opened her eyes to find herself lying on the mat-floor with Shaka towering over her. The smell of his scent hit her nose as the throb inside her skull intensified. Hatred mounted in her chest. ‘You terrorist,’ she cursed.
He nodded. ‘Look at my face. I am the Official Terrorist of the Federal Republic.’ His English was surprisingly fair.
‘You are evil,’ Sade said, ‘and I am your nemesis.’
He grinned. ‘Lift her up.’
Steel hands lifted Sade up and sat her down. ‘What are you doing?’
‘You talk too much. Just watch.’ Shaka grabbed her bicep and struck in the needle of his syringe. A gasp escaped her throat, as she shot forward but iron grips held her back. Then she strengthened out on the floor, her pupils rolling away from their white backgrounds. She passed out.
‘What is next?’ Husseini asked.
Four pair of eyes watched Sade like biologists would watch a specimen in the lab.
‘Bani ruwa,’ Shaka said after a moment. One of the men sped off and returned with a cup of water. Shaka sprinkled some on Sade’s face, kicking her on the ribs. ‘Wake up, bitch.’
Sade opened vanquished eyes. ‘Get up,’ Shaka ordered. Sade languidly got to her knees. ‘She will do whatever I tell her,’ Shaka said. ‘Say I hate Nigeria.’
‘I hate Nigeria,’ Sade drawled.
‘Say I am a bitch.’
‘I am a bitch.’
‘She could be pretending,’ Husseini said.
‘No, the charm is powerful. Her head is turned. Hey, hit your head on the floor three times.’
Sade knocked her forehead on the floor, thrice.
Shaka pointed to one of the men. ‘Remove your trousers and turn around.’ The fellow obeyed without question.
‘Sade, go and kiss his ass.’
Sade crawled to him and pecked a black buttock.
‘Kiss the other one.’
Shaka shrieked, ‘Kikikikikikikikikikikiki!’
‘This is too good to be true,’ Husseini said.
‘It is true,’ Shaka said. ‘Boka is a great medicine man.’ To the experimental fellow, ‘Return your trouser to your useless waist and go and tell Technana to arrange a bomb in a bag, set for explosion in two hours.’ The two subordinates left.
‘Sade,’ Shaka called. ‘We want you to carry suicide bomb for us, will you?’
‘Speak out, karuwa.’
A long moment later, Sade was seated in a golf car, the bomb bag in the boot. Shaka was on the window for the final instructions. ‘Remember, you will drive to the Central Market, get to a place with enough crowd and roam about till the stop watch indicates zero-zero and the bomb explodes and kills everyone. Understood?’
‘Are you not happy to die for our cause?’
‘To your death, Nigerian famous agent!’
Sade looked at the cheap stop-watch on her wrist. 1 hour, 54 minutes for the bomb to explode. She started the ignition, engaged gear and sped off to her suicidal mission.
To be continued, after NYSC Camp… Ajuwire!
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