Read the opening episode here
Sade opened her eyes when they entered the room. She was lying on the bed with her right wrist handcuffed to the bed post, above her head. Manka was in the company of a coloured man with dangerous rattlesnake eyes and an arrogant moustache, dressed in a slightly oversized coat. His spacious clothing made Sade aware of her undersized blouse over ill-fitting trousers and itching socks.
Manka’s eyes narrowed when they fell on the untouched tray of food on the bedside table.
I not hungry, Sade said with her eyes.
Manka shrugged. ‘I need you to meet an important man. Mr Navas, a diplomat from Camus Island.’
Sade just stared. Camus Island is a late twentieth century independent colony of Spain, lying in the Gulf of Guinea. In the census of 2013 its population was put at 500 thousand inhabitants. The island is famous for its oil and diamonds. Like most African countries with interest, Sade had had dealings in Camus Island. And like most countries where Sade had had dealings, Sade was a wanted woman in Camus Island.
She watched as Manka arranged a chair for his guest and disappeared. ‘We meet again, Sade,’ the man said. His accent was rugged Latin.
‘We have never met before,’ Sade said. She noticed the bulk of the pistol in his coat.
‘We have; you were in my country in 2006, remember?’
Of course Sade remembered. In 2006 the military of Camus had overthrown the government in a coup. The ousted President who was in an AU conference in Accra flew to Abuja and reported to President Obasanjo who sent Nigerian troops and forced the coupists to abdicate without being prosecuted. Sade was part of the secret agents who followed the returning president home and protected him for three vile months. Sade was glad when the assignment ended and she left the ice-cold country.
‘You were in my country for three months,’ Navas said.
‘I didn’t meet you there.’
He nodded his agreement. ‘But you met one Lieutenant Hector.’
‘The one who tried to assassinate the president.’
‘That was what they said. Anyway you arrested him and tortured him to death.’
Sade remembered the lieutenant. He had smuggled a pistol into the presidential residence and was only caught as he made to sneak into the conference room where the president and his cabinet were meeting. The Secret Service interrogated him, trying to find out who had sent him, who his accomplices were. He was obstinate. The interrogators tuned their ‘encouragement’ higher. The lieutenant died.
‘I didn’t touch Hector,’ Sade said.
‘You supervised it. Directly or indirectly you killed the lieutenant.’
Sade said nothing. She was in charge of the prisoner, so he was right, indirectly.
Navas rose to his feet. ‘In 2011, after completing his two terms of ten years, President Victor rigged the election for his son Victor Junior. Anarchy broke loose and consumed the Island for months until the military wisely took over and this time around your lousy country didn’t interfere. Now guess who the head of state is? Colonel Hector, elder brother to Lieutenant Hector whom you killed.’
He paused for the information to sink in, his eyes on Sade’s face which she had masked with a blank look, with great effort.
‘Colonel Hector wants to even things with you, Sade. In their family they never forget debts.’
‘He will kill me?’ This didn’t sound like a question.
The other shrugged. ‘The Colonel will answer that question. The colonel himself has sent a private jet to fly you to Camus Island. The jet is expected in few hours’ time.’
Mark endured a thorough search on the rotting dead body which produced a wallet. Mark ripped the wallet open and found an ID card which told him the death was Binda Baga an agent with CACA Bamenda Area Unit. ‘Let’s get out of here,’ Mark said. It was near dusk when they left the body and totally dark when they got to their helicopter.
Mark called Collin, his friend in CACA. It wasn’t friendship in the term you understand friendship. Agents could refer to each other as friends and not talk twice in three years, and sell the other without qualms when duty demands. But they could be surprisingly magnanimous and could share information when it is no threat to their principals.
‘I need information,’ Mark said after the fox show of love.
‘Of course, you didn’t call to ask of my health.’
‘At least you are alive. I wish to trace one of your agents Binda Baga code number CA55733B.’
‘I don’t know him.’
‘Use your computer,’ Mark suggested.
‘What do you want with him?’
‘I just dug out his dead body in Bana town.’
‘What? You are in Cameroon? What are you doing in my jurisdiction?’
‘Binda’s dead body is found buried together with one of my agent’s body. These guys are up to some international mischief. I want to know the people involved—what his last assignment was.’
He other line was unimpressed. ‘Mark, whatever Binda was doing in Bana, it wasn’t official.’
‘I know; I just want to know who knows that he was in Bana.’
‘How do I know that?’
‘My computer doesn’t have access to such intel!’
‘Then make phone calls! Come on, Collin, you owe me.’
‘I owe you nothing.’ Pause, then sigh. ‘Give me a moment.’ The call ended.
‘What next?’ Maku asked. He was anxious to return to his cosy bed in Abuja. ‘We wait,’ Mark said.
They waited for an hour, no call from Collin. Mark called him.
‘Nobody sent Binda on any era,’ Collin told him. ‘In fact, he and his partner have been AWOL for nearly a week now.’
‘Who is his partner?’
‘A fellow named Manka Cinja.’
‘What is the idea Mark?’
‘I want to talk to the Manka chap.’
‘He is a CACA agent. Why don’t you tell me everything and let us handle it.’
‘I wish I can Collin. Just trust me; I won’t do anything that will hurt CACA.’
‘Better don’t.’ Collin gave Mark an address in Bamenda.
Sade had been studying her cell for hours now. The roof was the storey decking, the window was protected with a devilish burglary proof, and the door, unbreakable steel. Sade was in a maximum secured cell.
But Sade refused to give up on finding a way out of her captivity. The elementary thing every agent is taught is that no security is fool proof, if you search hard enough you will find its weakness.
Sade resolved to find its weakness. She looked around her for anything of interest. Her eyes fell on her dish. She recalled what her instructors said at Yari Camp. ‘While in a tight corner, anything you can lay your hand on is a very important escape tool. If you find a lemon, make a lemon bomb.’
Her dish was made up of a stainless bowl with cover, a glass cup full of water, the tray and a fork. ‘Which of this will make the best tool?’ Sade took the fork. It was the utensil less likely to be missed and easiest to hide. As she put the fork under her pillow the key turned in the door and Manka came in.
‘I have come to say goodbye,’ he sat down in Navas seat. He studied the dish for three long seconds, then shrugged. ‘I have also come to say thank you. You have fetched me 300 thousand dollars. I sold you to Camus Island for 200 thousand, they are coming to claim you. As three hundred is better than two, I called the Russians and they offered 100 thousand dollars for you. They are also on their way. I am now going to disappear to where no one will ever find me. It would be interesting to see the Russians clash with the Islanders for you, but I would be glad to miss it.’
The information took time to hit her but when it did, Sade’s spine was paralyzed with icy fear she managed to keep off her face. ‘You bastard,’ she cursed.
The man snorted. He rose to his feet. ‘I must go now to avoid been trapped in your mess. The Russians are super evil but Sade I would prefer them to the wrath of Colonel Hector. Do you wish to hear about him?’
Sade didn’t open her mouth. Manka told her. ‘Although he has never seen a medical school before Colonel Hector calls himself a doctor. He performs all kinds of surgery on his enemies-patients. Presently he is trying to do what he calls womb transplant. Sade, if he gets you, he will lay you on his table, tear open your belly, remove your womb (if you have any) and fix an artificial womb on you…’ The doom biographer allowed a little sinister smile cut his poker face. ‘When people are sentenced to be Hector’s patient, they usually beg to have their sentence commuted to death in his crocodiles pool. Good luck.’ And he was gone.
Sade swallowed the bitter lump that Manka’s story had put in her mouth, but she fought the mounting depression. There was no time for mourning, it was time to escape.
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