BLOOD ISLAND (9)

Previously on Blood Island
‘We have a problem,’ the man whom Mark had come to regard as Mr Unsmiling said. Mark, half of his face hidden in bandage, sat up, trying to control the sudden tightening in his chest. ‘Sade?’ he inquired.

The man released a small hoot. ‘The head of state wants to see you. Follow me.’

Mark didn’t seem to have heard. ‘What has happened to Sade?’

‘Follow me.’ This, impatiently. Mark nursed a wild idea and quickly suppressed it when he glanced at the pistol bulk in the fellow’s hip. Mark obeyed.

AVM Douglas had his massive back towards the door, on an end of the conference table when Mark was ushered into the room. ‘Sentarse,’ he said without turning. Mark sat down. A steel moment passed.

‘The Russians are still filming the whole Africa.’

‘Sade went after them,’ Mark said and braved himself for the worst.

The other man turned slowly and faced Mark. ‘Sade is missing in action. Her line is dead.’ He paused for the words to sink. They sunk. Mark said nothing,  he continued, ‘With Sade out, we need you to go after the Russians. On the one hand, you will be taking revenge on those who might have killed your lover; on the other hand, you will be destroying a Russian facility that has compromised the security of Africa. Mark, can you do this?’

Mark stared hard at his fingers then looked up, ‘Show me your arsenal.’

Five minutes later, someone called the Russian consulate and mentioned Mark’s name twice.
#  #
Sade opened her heavy eyes. Her head was aching with fury, her joints and shoulders static with pains. The left side of her face was bruised and swollen having smashed it on a tree, she was bleeding through the nose but the heavy pain in her chest alarmed her most, her lungs must have been damaged to the point of pulmonary hemorrhage; every intake of breath hurt her inside. The leather jacket she wore over denim trousers had protected her from flash burns, but she still feared she might have had a part of her mangled.

Her first thought, when she managed to think beyond her predicament, was Mark. Poor man, he would face the wrath of Douglas. Then she thought of Nigeria, the Russians would continue to have access to every nook of the country for a long time to come. She managed to force these thoughts out of her mind. It would kill her. But she wouldn’t die without fighting. She began an excruciating crawl to the gravels. Her intention was to crawl out of the gate, to as far as she would meet people. If she fell in the wrong hands, they would kill her; if she got lucky she would fall in the hands of some Samaritan. The chances of falling in the wrong hands were twice higher but she must take the risk. There was only one outcome if she remained here, death, slow painful death.

The strong harsh beam of a car headlights blinded Sade as soon as she touched the driveway. That must be Valencia, Sade thought, here to finish me off. Sade shut her eyes, expecting the tyres to crush her skull. Sade was right, it was Valencia. But she didn’t crush Sade with the car. She got out of the car and made for Sade. She slammed her foot on Sade’s side. Sade moaned.

She grabbed Sade on the neck and lifted Sade up to face her. ‘Do you remember doing this to me?’

‘Pull the trigger,’ Sade urged.

‘Not yet bitch.’ She slammed Sade’s face on the road then grabbed Sade by the ankle and began to drag her on the hard road to the back of the car. She opened the boot. She half-carried and half-kicked Sade into the boot. She slammed the boot shut. ‘Punche puta.’
#     #
Mark got down the car a couple of blocks from Chapel Johans of Camus. It was around twenty minutes to midnight, there were no street lights here which suited Mark fine. To add to his fortune, it was drizzling, no one was about. The chapel was made up of two buildings, the old stone church with a cross-designed door built by the colinialists, and a modern auditorium behind it. Mark stopped before the cross door and watched through the dim light the back of a grey-haired fellow dressed in a white cassock and green cape kneeling before the apse. This must be Father Juan, Valencia’s beloved old priest, he thought. The natural thing was to rush down the nave and confront the fellow, but Mark, from his experience in the field, knew that if you continously have good luck in an assignment then someone is trying to play you into a trap.

No, he wouldn’t fall into any stupid trap. With Sade ‘missing in action’ he knew that Nigeria depended solely on him to save her from wantom Russian surveillance. He walked to the side of the building, dropped to his knees and began to craw forward meaning to investigate the fellow at the alter through the door of the north transept.

His cell phone began to beep in his hip. He quickly grabbed the phone and connected it lest the beeping alerted the ‘priest’. Only Camus’ head of state had this number but when Mark put the phone on his ear he was shocked. Sade said hi Mark. ‘Hey Sade, where are you?’

The next voice crippled his intestinal muscles. ‘Sade is with me,’ Valencia said. Mark caught his breath in a small whistle. ‘Normally I should put a pistol on her head and pull the trigger.’

‘You don’t dare,’ Mark said.

‘Nonsense. I won’t kill her until I have to. Her life is in your life.’

‘What do you want?’

‘I am prepared to trade Sade for two things. One, I want you to use your connections in your embassy to get me out of Camus Island. Two, I want you to rescue Papa Juan and put him in the same plane with me. These done, I will release Sade to you.’

Mark turned this in his quick mind. ‘Why use Nigeria? Why can’t you go away on your own?’

‘Because I am hiding from the Russians; they are after me. They bombed my house.’

‘Why are they after you?’

‘None of your business.’

Quietly, Mark repeated the question.
‘You Nigerian fools caused it! You think I know the whereabout of the Russian satellites, so the Russians are trying to kill me before you get to me.’

It made sense to Mark. ‘You asked me to rescue your priest. Where’s he?’

‘In the monastery; I called the monastery and a Russian answered the call. They have him captive. You must save him.’

‘Why should the Russians be interested in an old priest.’

‘Because you are interested in him. Yes, they know you are headed there. So many Russian spies around our new head of state.’

And that is how you got this number, Mark thought, through your own spy.

‘Hello?’

Mark decided to try a wild card. ‘I love Sade yes. But I am on a national assignment, my sole aim being to put the Russian satellites out of action. Why should I suspend that to risk my life for your priest in exchange for Sade.’

‘You are a fool Mark. Papa Juan knows the location of the Russian satellites. Save his life and he’ll tell you what you want to know. Bring him to me, put us in a plane and get Sade back…’

Mark fired his pistol three times and the man who had been kneeling before the apse fell. Mark made forward and picked up the man’s Beretta pistol.

‘What’s that?’ Valencia inquired.

‘I just killed one of the Russians.’ He said this as carelessly as you would say, I threw the rotten orange away. ‘Now I am headed to the monastery to get Father Juan,’ he added.

‘Good luck,’ Valencia said.

‘Hey listen, make sure Sade is in good health. If I find her in bad condition I am going to kill Father Juan and kill you too.’

‘Go to hell.’

To be Continued…

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BLOOD ISLAND (8)

The last episode of Blood Island was published in July. I quietly stopped the series because, at the time, Corpers Lodge was in its climax and people were treating Sade as second choice. Sade is first love, how dare you treat her less! Corpers Lodge has since burned out and the ashes have been mercifully poured into the Niger. I bring back Sade to the centre of the stage, where she belongs. To refresh your mind on the drama so far, read episodes six and seven here and here . Or just go on and read this; the most important thing is that Sade is back, to kick some fresh ass, what else? I need you to give Sade a befitting welcome in the comment section. I am usually not sentimental about comments. But with Sade, I am a little touchy. Let’s go.
*
Valencia smiled as she replaced the receiver of the telephone. Sade was coming for her, Agent Doe had whispered. This piece of news had accelerated blood pressures in three continents and brought unpleasant thoughts of the graveyard. Valencia was expected to cower and begin to run for cover. Even as he leaked the secret to her, her informer’s voice reeked of raw fear that was almost reverend. But he didn’t know Valencia. She was the last person to run away from another human being. She had clashed with Sade two days back in Cameroon and had subdued Sade as easily as putting a corpse in a body bag. If Sade decided to pay her a visit then Sade would get a befitting welcome. This time around, the result of their confrontation, she was sure, would be final.

Valencia made for a window and drew the curtain aside. She watched the floodlit driveway lined with a canopy of trees in both sides. The bungalow had been a colonial residence. When Valencia was given this apartment she didn’t like it, its extra-spacious sitting room and countless bedrooms which had suited the ruling Spaniards, who usually entertained, had bored and annoyed her. But after six years of living here, she had grown sentimental about it, and almost loved it. But things had suddenly changed, Colonel Hector was dead and the new head of state, Air Vice Marshal Douglas was not a friend. He must be interested in removing the Russian satellites from Camus Island. But he was a coward. Rather than demand for her arrest and interrogation, he befriended the alien Sade and sent her after Valencia.

Valencia had only one option. Leave Camus Island. South Africa was a good destination to hide. But first, she must kill Sade. That would be her last perfect gift to the world of espionage.
#             #
Someone in the Russian Embassy was making a phone call. The instructions were in short, clipped Russian and twice the name Sade was mentioned.
#            #
Valencia had now packed to her taste and was now ready to take her bath when a smash on the gate broke into her consciousness. She ran to the the window. A fast moving jeep sped down the driveway. Sade was here! Blood pumped into Valencia’s face; she ran into the bedroom, snatched out a drawer and fetched her HAZARD Special Automatic. As she made back into the sitting room, the car crashed on the wall. Valencia dropped to her knees behind a couch, her pistol ready. She waited. Nothing happened. She was the hunted. There was no need for her to hurry. Let Sade play the next card.

She heard the noise of a gun head on a window glass, she turned, firing thrice on the window, on reflex, shattering glass. Then silence. She waited. Her breathing, notches high.

The breaking of the glass of the next window brought Valencia around to it, shooting twice. A thousand pieces of glass on the floor was the only visible result. Valencia waited, dead alert. The earth stood on its toes, silence filled the room with steel. Valencia with tout muscles and dripping forehead, waited, unblinking.

The door handle snapped, Valencia fired twice on the door, and waited. The handle kicked again, she fired three times. She half-expected Sade to fall and cry out from a bullet wound. Instead the first window shook, Valencia firearm reported twice. Her breathing was loaded as though she breathed in lead and breathed out iron. Then the keyhole began an urgent juggling, Valencia made to fire but her heart sank as she discovered the whole trick. She had run out of bullets. The door pushed open and Sade walked in calmly, like a nurse dropping in to see a favoured patient.

‘You bitch,’ Valencia hailed.

‘The only reason you are still standing on your feet is because I am a bitch. I am lenient when dealing with co-bitches. But don’t push me.’

‘What do you want?’

‘Sit down.’

Valencia gave Sade a long evil eye and made her decision. Sade held her pistol by her hip pocket. I can surprise her. She rushed at Sade with the agility of a lioness. Sade lowered her head and thrust forward, slamming her forehead on Valencia’s midriff. Valencia crashed her back on the floor, her abdominal cavity on fire.

Sade grabbed Valencia on the hair and drew her face level with hers. ‘I am here over the Russian satellites. I need to know where they’re operating from?’

‘Go to hell,’ Valencia said.

Sade grinned knowingly. She would force the information from the former when she had to. She knew all about Valencia’s famous diary. If Valencia knew about the Russian satellites, her diary would know. Sade got hold of Valencia’s hand and handcuffed it on a foot of her couch. Sade entered the bedroom.

The first thing she saw was the large unmade bed, near which lay two suitcases. The makeup table was vacant. Sade’s eyes fell on the chest of drawers. She made for it, flung them open. No diary. She turned to the suitcases.

The sound of a car ignition starting set Sade’s eyes popping. She snatched out her pistol as she ran into the sitting room. Valencia was gone. She got the door opened and saw the jeep speeding towards the gate. ‘No!’ Sade ran after the car. It was useless. The car passed the gate and was gone. Sade was so mad at herself she slammed her knees on the gravels. It was a stupid mistake to make. She had handcuffed Valencia on the foot of the couch, but the piece of furniture was thinner than the circle of the cuff! All Valencia did was lift the furniture up and go free with the cuffs. Sade bit her lip and cursed herself.

A faint sound of aircraft swayed Sade’s attention, then gradually grabbed it as it ascended in volume. The plane was too low for comfort. It suddenly dawned on Sade. She dived towards the lineup of trees, making to hug one. Valencia’s house exploded into an inferno of concrete, wood, nails, steel and destruction. Poor Sade, even she couldn’t outrun a bomb. The blast wave struck her, the initial force of the shock wave knocked her down, flinging her deep into the trees in secondary fragmentation. Then, blackout.

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To be Continued…