Mark opened the kitchen door. He stood on the door studying Sade’s provocative legs and inhaling the awesome aroma of what she was cooking. He sighed and entered the kitchen, shutting the door behind him. ‘I will like to make you my wife.’
Sade laughed. ‘I need a wife myself.’
‘I will be your wife,’ Mark offered.
‘No, you are already married to espionage. I don’t want to be second choice.’
‘I will divorce the ICO.’
Sade shook her head. ‘I don’t want a divorcee.’
Mark hugged her back. She stopped the cutting of the cabbage. ‘Go away you devil.’
He kissed her hair. ‘Or am I too handsome for you?’
‘Oh,’ she giggled, ‘you deceive yourself. Anyway I would have overlooked your ugliness but I guess you are too poor for me.’
‘I can’t be poor when I control hundreds of thousands of dollars.’
‘Federal Government money,’ she said.
‘I am a patriotic citizen.’
‘It doesn’t matter.’ He crushed her in his arms.
‘Please Mark the food will be ruined. It’s lunch you are playing with.’
‘To hell with food, I want you for lunch.’ He was kissing her neck.
Sade moaned. ‘Why argue with a woman with a kitchen knife in her hand?’
‘She’s my lover,’ he was caressing her bosoms. Sade slapped his hands off, turned around and gave him a hard push. He refused to relent, and closed in. ‘Please Mark, let me be done with this, give me thirty minutes… I beg you. Go and swim.’
‘I don’t swim alone.’
‘I will join you in thirty minutes time, I swear.’
‘I won’t go away until you promise to marry me.’
Sade sighed. ‘Man, you should be ashamed of yourself proposing to a woman in the kitchen. Shame on you.’
He was comically ashamed and decided to go, but he stole a kiss first.
‘Glutton,’ she cursed him as he finally made for the door. A few steps from the door, an explosion rocked the door, lifting Mark off the floor and hitting him hard on the floor.
‘Drop it,’ a coloured woman, between thirty and thirty-five with a pretty malicious face was pointing an automatic pistol at Sade. ‘Drop it or I kill him.’
Sade looked the woman in the eyes and saw that the gunner had spent at least a quarter of her lifetime sending people to early graves. Sade let go of the knife and smiled in surrender as three huge men with efficient silencers in their pistols entered the kitchen.’Your hands on your head. If you try anything funny I will shoot him. ‘ Then in Spanish, ‘Go handcuff her.’
As one of the men made for Sade the woman pointed at Mark. ‘Carry him out.’
‘But we were ordered to kill her company,’ one of the men protested.
Her lips tightened with anger. ‘Don’t argue with me. I know who he is, and what he does in Nigeria. This is HAZARD were you are expected to use your head. I say carry this man out.’
‘I don’t like this,’ the man insisted. ‘Kill her companion was the order. And moreover there won’t be space for him in the jet.’
‘Then we leave you out,’ she shot him twice on the belly. She looked up at the other men. ‘Does anyone of you still think we should kill this man?’
The men didn’t as much as moved. ‘I hate my authority been questioned.’ She hissed.
Sade now handcuffed behind her back smiled. ‘We need more women like you around.’
The woman nodded. She did a head signal to the man who handcuffed Sade and a gun butt landed on the back of Sade’s neck. Sade fell down, unconscious. ‘Good, handcuffed or not, I am only relaxed when people like her are sleeping. Bring them out.’
This lady’s name was Valencia, a name Sade would remember for the rest of her life.
Sade was falling from a very high tower into a black dark pit, but before she crashed on the pit she would find herself up the peak, falling off; up again, falling off, again, again. An endless circle. The depth of the ditch became shorter with each attempted fall, till Sade was just lying on the height, giddy. Her head was part of the rock, its crude extension, and upside down. Gradually, her skull crept out its independence but was splitting into two. She wasn’t lying on a rock after all. It was a hard sofa or recliner, something like that. And it was vibrating, it was in motion. She was in a Lear jet, flying to somewhere.
Someone was talking to her though the fevered voice seemed to be coming from her head. Although she was lying on her cuffed hands she managed to turn her head. Valencia towered over her. ‘Welcome to Camus Island,’ she announced. Two pairs of hands on either side lifted Sade to her feet so that she stood face level with her captor. ‘Where is your manners, Sade? Say thank you for the ride.’
Tired of being bullied around like a sack of manure Sade’s temper surged into her head. ‘What’s the population of Camus Island?’ she asked. Taken aback, Valencia had no answer. ‘I think 500 thousand people or so, I am not sure. But by the time I am finished with your country no one will be sure. There will be so much death about, your government will have to conduct another census. Mark my words.’
‘You talk too much,’ Valencia said.
‘Read my files again.’
‘Take her away.’
Waiting to receive Sade on the late afternoon sunlit airfield was the head of HAZARD himself. He was standing before his jeep and beaming with sheepish smiles. They brought Sade to a stand before him. ‘I am honoured to welcome you to the Island. You cost me four good men and a half of a million dollars. You are a big deal. I will personally drive you to the Presidential Palace. Colonel Hector is presently in Zimbabwe visiting old friend Mugabe. He will be back tomorrow and will give you the welcome befitting your heroic status. Put her in the car.’
Hugo nodded at the approaching Valencia and stretched a congratulatory hand. ‘You succeeded where so many failed. I knew I could count on you.’ They shook hands. ‘Thank you sir. I have something else to show you.’ She snapped her hand above her head and Mark in cuffs was led down the craft.
Mark was not fatally injured by the grenade blast on the door. This was due to two reasons. One, the door itself served as a cushion against the blow; the explosive was from the other side, its effect lowered greatly by the impact on the door. Again, as it was an offensive concussion grenade with a relatively small wounding radius, about two metres, and Mark was only just getting into its harmful radius when the blast occurred. The force however knocked him down, and save for the splinter wood that battered his forehead he wouldn’t have sustained any injury. And he was much conscious while Valencia and one of her men argued over his life. Then two gunshots and he seized his breath as though he was out. Valencia wasn’t deceived, before he was carried away she knocked consciousness off him with the butt of her gun.
‘Dios mío,’ the HAZARD chief exclaimed. ‘You brought back this high ranking Nigerian espia. This is huge.’ He walked towards Mark. ‘We have been trying to set up an international criminal office like you have in Nigeria. You will help with information, won’t you?’
Mark didn’t say a word. ‘We may have to persuade him,’ Valencia said.
‘Of course,’ Hugo agreed. ‘Take him to the Abandoned HAZARD Infirmary.’ Mark was led away. ‘Who’s our best torturer?’
‘Carlo, but he retired last year.’
‘Call him out of retirement. I want him to work on Mark. Give him everything he needs. Pay him a thousand dollars per hour.’
‘That will be expensive, sir.’
At this moment Carlo, fifty-six, blind in one eye and largely deaf was standing before his dirty pond trying to fish with a line and hook. He had never caught any fish before but nothing gave him so much joy like trying, his favourite pastime. Little did he know that in few moments’ time he would receive a phone call that would put him in the middle of World War Three. Little did he know.