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Bucket stood over the still body of Mr. Jackson, he was surprised to see it was an old man and told his other colleagues who were hiding in the shadows just as much.
He nudged the old man with his feet, he didn’t move, he looked closer at the man lying in the dirt, he was certain he had hit his upper torso, possibly his shoulder, so why wasn’t he bleeding. Bucket was too caught up in his own thoughts to notice the old man reach for the gun in this waist hold and squeeze two shots into his chest. He fell clutching his chest a bewildered look on his face.
Iron Jackson propped up his limp body and used it as cover as a barrage of bullets flew his way from the shadows, as he moved out of the line of sight, he fired at the sources of light in the dark. Bang and a thud and another bang and yet another thud as limp bodies hit the ground.
Jackson heard a voice shout; “Stop shooting, he is using that to know where you are hiding.” “Smart man but not too smart.” Jackson thought to himself. For good measure, Jackson shot in the direct of the voice and dove behind the back of an SUV.
“I am way too old to be doing this but I am loving every second of it.”
The whizzed past his face, stinging his ears before lodging in the wall behind him. Pablo crouched further into the flowers in front of him. The old man was out of sight now and Bucket’s limp body was laying in the middle of the road.
“Wetin we go do now?!” Kojo asked, his voice tingling with fear.
“Make we rush the guy, na old man and na only am dey. We be three we fit take am out.” Ore said, boastfully trying to mask his dread.
“Good idea. Kojo follow right, Ore, you follow left, I go dey una back.” Pablo said, sliding a magazine into his AK47.
Mr. Jackson had counted on them capitalizing on their numbers and had made contingency plans to that effect, this was his area, they seemed not to put that into cognizance. Using the cover of the night he traced his step back to the Gbenga’s, whose security light was luckily turned off. He remembered Mrs. Gbenga complaining to his wife about how her husband always forgot to do certain things because he always had his mind on something every time. He would forget to turn off the TV before going upstairs to sleep, forget his phone at home on his way to the office and on more than one occasion had forgotten his key in the ignition. Mr. Jackson tried the door, as he approached the Infiniti Jeep and voila it gave way, he had left the key in the ignition, again.
“Thank you, Mr. Gbenga.” He said silently, getting into the the car and getting into position.
Moments later he noticed movements in the shadows on either sides of the car, from his position he peered into the darkness, seeing only with the faint light of the moon. He could see them in the side mirror of the SUV as they approached his position cautiously, he held his breath and remained still, his guns out of sight, so the moon would not reflect on its metallic frame, but pointed at the two doors. The windows were tinted so they would have to look really hard to make him out in the darkness but he was not taking any chances.
The two men soon walked past the SUV oblivious to the danger lurking inside, Jackson waited several heartbeats to be sure that it was just the two of them, when no other person walked past. He quietly got out of his car and trained his weapons on the criminals.
The two men stopped cold on their tracks and then simultaneously swung their weapons on Iron Jackson but he was too fast for them. Two shots rang out and both men dropped to the dirt, dead. Just then several shots hit the SUV which acted as a cover for Mr. Jackson. He took cover. There was a third shooter. He heard the pounding of footsteps as the shooter retreated further into the close.
DPO Usman lay in bed reveling in the after bliss of an intense love making session with his beautiful, young, new wife, after a long day’s work at the office it was always good to come home to a good meal and the lovely warmth of his wives. Maimuna who was lying in bed was the latest of his four wives and the most beautiful of them all, it isn’t true what they say about old wine tasting better, because he could vouch for his new wine.
His wife stirred in bed, Usman smiled at her gorgeous body, he married well. Not only was she smart, soft spoken, a fox in bed but also better educated than his other wives. It had been an arranged marriage between him and her father who was a close friend of his; marriage to Maimuna did not only seal a union, it sealed a friendship for life.
He was almost drifting off to sleep when the vibration of his mobile phone on the night stand woke him up. He hesitated before picking the call, after seeing whose name was displayed on the LCD screen.
“Walahi Linus!!! You better have a good reason for calling me at this time of the night!!” He growled into the mouthpiece.
“Good evening sir,” Linus’ voice came over the speaker. He cleared his throat before beginning. “Sir we have received several reports of gunshots in the Hilob close area.”
“Gunshots?! Have you assigned anybody to go investigate?” He was alert now.
“No sir, there just about three men here, the rest were assigned on security detail at Hilob close by you earlier today.”
“And? Any word from them?!”
“No sir, they are in radio silence.”
The DPO let out expletives before saying. “Alright, I will reach across to My colleague in Gusaka division to send some of his boys and you ask the remaining boys to meet them at the location. Ka ji ko? (Is that understood?)”
Usman cut the call after that and immediately called his colleague DPO Chinedu, who luckily was awake and was willing to help. That done, Usman, took his phone and walked into the living room. No way he could sleep now.
Pablo ran dragging the duffle bag with him, till he got to the huge gate. Spent bullet shell tingled under his footsteps as he cautiously approached the gate, a body lay on the ground which he ignored and went ahead and pushed open the gate, which gave way. As he stepped into the compound, he came face to face with the nozzle of three waiting machine gun.
“Don’t shoot, I surrender.”
Those words threw his captors off guard, Martins and his crew had decided to go down gun blazing when they thought the footstep were those of whoever had been shooting at them before.
“Surrender?! But we no be police.” Martins exclaimed.
“Thank God!!!” Pablo exhaled. “I don reason as I go use rotten for here.” He noticed the men had not lowered their guns.
“Who you be?!” Zeus asked.
There was silence, then Pablo noticed the bag filled with jewelry and money. And decided to sweet talk himself out of a tight situation.
“E no matter who I be, wetin matter na wetin we go do the man wey wan kill us.”
There was a collective sigh from the trio, before they lowered their guns.
“Na one man they shoot that thing?!” Martins asked, shocked. Pablo nodded.
“He done waste all my men by himself. Me just pick race, say at least if I dey with una we go many follow am.”
“But how you take know say na one person?!” Chelekwu, the third of the trio asked, curious.
“Because I see am with my own eyes.”
“And you no kill am?!” Martins asked bewildered.
“I try but that man carry jazz, I swear. Bullet no dey knack am.”
They could all hear the fear in his voice and it terrified them. Martins who was always the calm headed person knew he had to take charge of a dreadful situation, immediately devised a plan in his head.
“Omo na 3 dey knack now and soon e go be morning. By now police go don get info say something dey happen here. I go suggest say since na one person and we na four, make we as one take on am.”
“That make sense.” The others chorused.
“Oya, we don dey make mistake since, now make we correct am. Zeus and Chelekwu go follow back of the close, make una careful oh, then me and you.” He said referring to Pablo, “go follow front, we go corner am, waste am.”
“Martino!!! Na so!!!”
“Oya sharp-sharp, time no dey. Make we move.” Turning to Hygenus, “Idiot man, because of you men don waste. Shay you talk say na simple job?”
“Haba, Martino why you dey talk like this?! I no know say Old Soldier go get liver do wetin he do this night?!”
“Oh!! So you even know who he be just keep quiet?!”
Hygenus did not get a chance to answer as Martins pumped lead into him.
“The guy wey dey pursue us na old soldier, na now that idiot dey tell me that one. I for done cut out tey, now we gas fall am to escape.” Martins whispered to Pablo as they skulked gun first, towards the gate.
The sound of the gun battle that had claimed the life of Bucket and two of his crew members had sounded too close for comfort and instead of banging on the door for Mike to come out for another round of beating, the girls were begging to be let in but Mike was not going to take that chance, he was safer from both the armed robbers and the two women. After almost pacing holes into his rug, he decided it was best to go hide in the ceiling, it was better than being manhandled by the armed robbers, he had heard first hand what those guys did to men when they laid their hands on them. The girls would be safe, hopefully they would not be harmed in anyway. Hopefully!
He went into the toilet, climbed the toilet, moved a ceiling aside and disappeared into it.
After several minutes of knocking, Rita realized that they always kept a spare in the TV stand and went to fetch it. When she opened the door, Martins was nowhere to be found, the windows were barricaded and thus he could not have gone out that way.
“Jesu!!! Where did that coward of man go to?!” Atinuke wailed, immediately regretting falling for his charm.
Rita fell to the floor sobbing, this night had turned to a total disaster, her well planned life had crumbled right before her eyes, she wanted more than anything to leave this cursed apartment and go home but there were robbers outside, shooting up the place.
Atinuke knelt beside her and consoled her. “No man is worth your tears, especially not a two timing coward.” She got up and shut the door. And came back to sit beside her fellow scorned woman.
Iron Jackson wiped his glasses on his shirt, his eyesight wasn’t as good as it was when he was younger and in the army. He had been one of the top marksmen in his platoon; able to pick off targets from miles away. The Nigerian soldiers had nicknamed him “widow maker” but the Biafran army had simply called him Iron Jack. “Eyes on the target, breath and squeeze” He has always said those words every time he had a target in his sight.
Now he could barely see twenty feet in front of him, his hands shook from an early onset of arthritis, which reminded him that he had forgotten to take his pill before going to bed. Margaret would have been mad at him for failing to take his drug but he was certain her cup would be filled with other worries after tonight.
He paused in front of the Alao’s; the building in the area often referred to as the centre, as was the Obeya’s, which was opposite. He needed to catch his breath, he was not a kid anymore and did not exercise as much as his worrisome son would have liked. Nope, he was no longer a kid but then again, melting out discipline had no age limitation. He rubbed his shoulder, where one of the robbers had shot him, good thing it hit his special issue jungle knife.
He closed his eyes as he felt the last of the adrenaline seep through his system, after tonight, he joked to himself, he would problem go into hibernation the bears and come back sharper and brighter. He let a smile crawl across his face at the thought. But he knew Maggie would not let him. Maggie, as they got older had become more of a mother to him than a wife and she had gotten worse after the kids left the coop. Jackson understood what she was going through, she had invest her life in those kids and when they had grown up and did not need her fussing around them, she had turned to the nearest pet project; Jackson.
Thankfully, their kids started having kids of their own and her attention to him began to wane but only just. Jackson knew he would not have traded any moment with Maggie just to be alone. He loved the attention, even though he tried to make a fuss about it.
Then it struck him, he should go back home and be with his wife and grand children, he had done his best, the police can come clean up the rest. Someone in the neighborhood by now should have called the cops, they should be here soon, he hoped.
Just as he got up, he felt a shearing tear through his abdomen, a low cry left his throat, another pain stung his upper arm, just as he was crumbling to the ground. He rolled into the darkness provided by the shadow of the Alao home. He listened as footsteps, pounded towards him from both sides. He was trapped, he had no place else to go, they had him dead centre!