The Honda coasted down the road, its headlight turned off, till it came to a stop at the big black gate. Martins knew immediately something was not right; he had been to this place one too many times to know it was too quiet even for a close. It first struck him as strange at the gate when they weren’t stopped at the entrance by the security guards, who were inexplicably absent and what was with the police van and where were its occupants?
Kunle had suggested that they turn around but Martins’ inside man had assured them that there would be no problem and if they were stopped at the gate,they should claim that they were personal bodyguards. But they never got the chance to use that excuse, the security post were deserted, the houses unusually quiet even if it was 10PM, something was really off. But men of chance never turned down an opportunity and this was a fortuitous one and Martins was determined to make the best of it. A blessing in disguise.
He put his phone to his ears, letting it ring once and ended the call, seconds later, the gates parted to let them in and closed immediately they got in. Martins got out to meet his inside man; Hygenus the gate man.
“How far, wetin happen for una estate, why e be like where person run.”
He chuckled before replying. “Una put fear for them body with that una letter. See as them para eh!”
“What letter is he talking about?” Kunle asked.
“Forget about it, let’s finish up here. We haven’t got all night.” Martins said ignoring Kunle. “Do you have the keys?” Martins asked Hygenus, who reached into his pocket and handed over copies of the house keys he had made over the past couple of months. That is how long it had taken him to plan this heist.
“Check the safe, that is where Madam keeps her valuables. If you find any other thing remember to cut me in.” Hygenus snickered.
“As long as there are valuables.” Martins snared. He did not like Hygenus, he was greedy and untrustworthy and he planned on cutting out of the deal. “Are you ready?”
“For what?” Hygenus asked a little confused.
With out warning, the butt of Martin’s gun landed on his face sending him crashing to the floor.
“What was that for?!” He asked piqued.
“So that when the police comes asking questions, you would not seem suspicious.” Martins said heading towards the house.
When they got inside, they proceeded upstairs to the room on the right where the security guard had told them their targets were asleep in.
Gabriel had been uneasy earlier in the evening but the arrival of the police had gone a long way to ease his fears. This was a safe neighborhood, in the years he had lived here, there had never being an incidence of robbery and the note had probably being a product of an elaborate prank even if it turned out not to be, the presence of the well armed policemen at the gate was comforting.
So that night as he slept, he dreamt in the abstract, nothing that made sense, just faces of people and places he had been to, then they started to form a dark circle that slowly began to encompass him, threatening to smother him, then he woke up with a start, breathing heavily. He looked up to find himself and his wife surrounded by men carrying all manners of guns he had only seen in movies.
Raising a hand to his lips, one of the men hushed and signaled him to get out of bed, which he did without hesitation. Another woke his wife up, who almost let out a scream when she woke up to a gun to her face but had to hold back when she found her husband with a gun to his head too. She knew her scream could mean death for them both.
‘Take us to the safe now!” Martins whispered harshly to the quivering woman.
Linda Oforka looked at her husband, whose face was expressionless and knew that meant she was not to say a word.
All the while Gabriel was wondering how they got into the compound not to talk of his house. His fence was the highest in the estate and even if they managed to scale that, getting into the house would have been next to impossible; unless they broke in through the wall, the doors were impregnable, yet he knew that was improbable. And how did they know that he had a safe, even his children did not know he had a safe, so did these masked men; strangers, know he had a safe in his house.
“I said take us to the safe.” Martins said poking her head with the nozzle of his Beretta. He caught her looking at her husband again and landed a slap on her face. “Oh, you no wan talk?! Shoot that bastard!!!”
Kunle hesitated but cocked his AK47 anyway, he caught the empty plastic bottle Martins threw at him.
“What is this for?”
“To muffle the sound of the shot.” Martins snared.
“Ah!!! You want to really shoot him?! You said no one was supposed to die!!” Kunle said horrified.
Martins hissed. “Zeus, give am comma.” The one they called Zeus, took the plastic bottles, placed it over the nuzzle of his Walter PPK and shot Gabriel in the leg. He crumbled in pain, letting out a guttural cry.
Tensed, Zeus kicked his stomach and command him to shut up.
“Will you take us to the safe now?” Martins asked through the bandana covering half his face.
“I will, please don’t harm my husband again.”
She led the way to their walk in closet, pushed aside some cloths to reveal a false wall, which popped open to reveal the safe. She proceeded to enter the digits after which the safe hissed open.
Martins and Apollo; another of the gang, held their respective breaths as their eyes fell on the loot in the safe.
“Get the bag.” Martins stated and they soon began filling it up.
“What about the briefcase?” Apollo asked.
“Can you open it?” His question was met with a firm negative. “Put am inside, we go find way open am.” Martins said.
When they had ransacked the whole house for all the valuables they could find. Martins had the Oforkas locked in their room but not before making sure they had taken away all forms of communication they had.
Martins was elated, he did not know what was in the brief case but Hygenus had mentioned something about payment for a project but he knew for certain the jewels they had carted away was worth millions.
As they filed out of the huge mansion, Kunle was the first to notice it before the others did. Six guys all armed to the teeth and in front of them was a man, then all of a sudden, one of them shouted “Stop there!!”. Instinctively Kunle and 3 of his colleagues dove behind the Honda for cover.
“Ah!!! Police!!! What are we going to do?!” Kunle asked looking agitated, his eyes searching Martins for answers.
Martins had not made contingency plans because Hygenus had assured him that they wouldn’t need it. The car shook as it was continually riddled with bullet, he was scared and had no other plan but shoot their way out of this.
Without wasting another peeked from behind the booth of the Honda and squeezed several shot in the direction of their assailants. If he was going, he would do it fighting.
“Shoot anything that moves, that gun is not for fancy. If it moves, drop it.”
Chijioke woke up to the sound of the first gunshot, he could hear his grand parents arguing in the living room and walked groggily to find out what they were arguing about.
“…Jackson let the policemen handle this.” He heard Grandma Maggie plead.
“What policemen, the same ones that let them in, in the the first place? Unhand me woman!”
Chijioke peeked and saw his grandfather holding a huge gun as he headed to the balcony of their one storey building.
‘Take the children and lock yourself in our bedroom. Do not open the door unless it is me.”
When Jackson got to the corridor, he noticed two sets of people exchanging gunfire, none of them members of the Nigerian Police Force. He aimed at one of the groups and fired, his shot landed square off the chest of the gunman sending him crashing to the ground.
It had been years since he had fired a weapon, he had forgotten how hard a gun’s recoil could be, his shoulder would hurt for days but he relished the thought of having hit his target in one shot. Maybe his eyesight wasn’t as bad as he thought.
Martins watched Kunle drop dead at his feet, his writhing body coming to rest at his feet, blood sprouting from the gaping hole in his chest. This was getting out of hand! He had not expected any of this, it was supposed to be a smash and grab, now it had turned to a full blown gun fight and now a member of his gang was dead.
“Where did that shot come from?” Martins asked.
“Omo I no know!!” Martins was shocked to hear the fear in the voice of one of his most ruthless colleague.
As they spoke another bullet hissed passed them and buried itself in the ground not far from them.
“Over there!!” Martins called to his colleagues, pointing to the Okafor resident. They immediately fired a barrage of bullets on the quiet one storey building.
Iron Jack dove for cover as a hail of bullets sailed towards him, he crawled into the living room, determined to make sure his family was alright.
These kids were packing heavy firepower, from the sounds of the guns, he could tell they were mostly assault rifles and a hand guns. He could not tell what the other group were holding.
“Are you alright?” Jackson asked concerned.
“Yes were are.” His wife replied, visibly shaken.
“Okay, come with me.” He led them to his little room at the end of the corridor.
Finally Chijioke had a chance to be in the room and it was even more awesome than he had ever imagined. He looked on in awe as his grandfather chauffeured them into the room lined from floor to ceiling with an assortment of weapons, a military outfit complete with an old metal helmet. There was a huge rusted machete too!
Mr Jackson grabbed a couple of weapons and cautiously headed out towards the corridor.
Martins and his team were still pinned down by the other group, making them an easy target. Jackson hid behind a column in the corridor and opened fire on the the Honda, sending Mike, Zeus, retreating into the Oforka compound, their loot forgotten in the hail of bullets.