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Mr. Williams and his wife looked on eagerly from behind the barricaded window of their sprawling bungalow. He had witnessed every moment of this fateful evening; usually a late sleeper, he was watching the news when the first shot had been fired and had immediately turned off the TV and woken his wife up.
He had watched as Iron Jackson was caught unaware by the bullets of one of the gunmen who had been slowly closing in; unknown to him, on him. They saw the first flash of the gun and heard Iron Jackson’s pained cry as he collapsed to the floor.
“Is he dead?” Seedy, his wife had asked, her voice shaking at the thought that Jackson had been killed.
Thankfully, Williams saw the old man move and told his wife just as much.
“We should help him.” She pleaded.
“How?! We will only attract attention to ourselves. Moreover, I have called the police, they should be here any time now.”
“That was more than an hour ago, if they would have been here, they would be here now. Williams Obeya, do something!”
“Woman will you turn your voice down! What will you have me do, go out there gun blazing?”
“I didn’t say that but anything would be better than lurking from the comfort of this house, while a septuagenarian fights our fight.”
Just then they noticed two more people coming from the left, making it four. Iron Jackson was completely outnumbered and out gunned, he was most definitely going to be killed!
An idea popped into her head and without thinking it through, she reached for the light switch and turned on the security light.
Iron Jackson could feel the warmth of his blood soaking up the shirt he wore, he touched the wound; a through and through, it had not hit any vital organ but if he did not attend to the bleeding, he would be in trouble soon. He pushed himself up against the wall, his gun ready to shoot, supported by his tired leg. He listened as two footsteps approached from the right, then two more from the left. He had been trapped, the kids were finally learning. He pulled out his pistol and aimed it downwind to his left. He felt fear creep up his spine, his hands shook both from pain and anticipation, if this was his last day, he was going to go out gun blazing. He was not going to punk out of this.
Then it happened; the light at the Obeya’s came up, momentarily stopping the approaching men in their tracks and at the same moment, the door to the Alao’s opened a crack revealing a face he would be happy to see for the next ten years.
“Papa, come inside quick!” Mr. Alao whispered as he helped the old man into the house.
When the door was safely shut behind them. Iron Jackson looked up at the fear riddled face of the apprehensive Mr. Alao and said a heartfelt thank you.
“I thought that was it for me.” He confessed to the man whose wife was tending to his wounds.
“Papa, we have been watching your heroics all night, I might not be as brave as you but I cannot let those boys cause you any more harm. It is bad enough that they have deprived us of sleep tonight!”
Jackson flinched as Mrs. Alao pressed warm water into his wounds.
“Sorry sir.” She said continuing to work diligently on the gaping hole in his stomach. She poured antiseptic without warning, causing the old man to recoil in pain. “Sorry sir.” She said again, not really paying attention to the old man, then she began to wrap the wound with bandage.
“My wife is a nurse you know?” Mr. Alao’s eyes twinkled with pride, eliciting a wry smile from the tired old man.
All of a sudden, Mrs. Alao hushed both men and pointed towards the window, the voices of the thieves could be heard talking between themselves, obviously wondering what had happened to the old man.
“Where he enter?” Martins asked agitated.
“He don disappear!”
“How?! E no possible! Check well.” Martins reiterated.
“E be like he dey inside this house, see blood wey enter am.” Pablo said. “Then dey crase!!! Their full father!!!” And without warning, he opened fire on the Alao’s residence.
Meanwhile inside the Alao residence, its occupants had taken cover as bullets flew over them hitting everything in its path, all Mr. Alao was thinking about how much it would cost to repair all the damage that they would cost. Then for a brief second, he regretted helping Iron Jackson but immediately threw such thought out of his mind, he had done the right thing, even though it had cost him, now he would cherish the looks on the faces of his peers; who considered him a coward, when he told them how he had braved flying bullets to save the life of an old man and with enough embellishment, he was certain he would attain hero status in their sight.
Just then the massive chandelier in their sitting room crashed to the floor with a thunderous sound, that had cost him more than half a million naira and with the current economy, it would be way much now. He let loose expletives under his breath, out of the hearing of his wife and old man. This was turning to an evening he would not forget for a while.
The British drama CI5 had been a major part of his childhood, growing up he had been exposed to many Western movies and TV shows and CI5 was one of them. After watching it with peers or siblings, he had always wanted to be police when they played “police and thief”. Then there was also Die Hard and his favorite; “In the line of duty”, these movies made it easy for him to make the decision to become a policeman, he had relished the opportunity to stare crime in the face and meet it head on like his heroes in the movies.
His parents had been against that decision, thoroughly, but he would have none of it, now six months after his graduation from the academy, he was headed to his first one on one with crime and ironically, he was scared stiff.
From the distance, he could hear the sounds of the gunshots puncturing the serenity of the quiet evening air. It was nothing like the movies, this sound was way too crude and sounded like death. He had been in rifle training and many shooting ranges but actually going toe to toe with an assault rifle, filled him with dread, he could make out that the perps were using machine guns but from this distance, it sounded as it they were using 44 calibre machine guns. It rang and rang into the night’s air, its acrid smell, filling the sky and the nostril of those near enough to the scene.
The van glided silently across the bumpy road, its occupants, tense and apprehensive, they were just as scared as he was, which made him feel a little bit better but only just.
In no time they were greeted by the huge arc that read HILOB CLOSE and drove under it, he noticed the police truck abandoned by the side of the gate, its occupants nowhere in sight.
Without warning, the driver turned on the siren, jolting the occupants of the van back to life, as it slid down the tarred road. All of a sudden, something hit the windshield and then another, then the bonnet. The driver slammed the brakes and stopped the car in the middle of the road.
“Take cover we are under fire!”
Celestine Okwe did not need prompting to push open the door and slammed himself onto the hard road, his weapon clutched tightly to his chest.
Martins knew they had to leave now but had to let Pablo rain hell on the building, just so he could calm down and gain some semblance of composure. It was too bad they could not get to the old man but he was not their problem anymore and the path was open for them to head on out of the estate. There will always be tomorrow, but for now chief on their agenda should be leaving this place with their loot before the police arrived.
He soon heard the click of the machine gun as the needle hit an empty chamber, his had blown his load; literally. Time to go home.
“Pablo, make we waka, morning don reach and eke fit show here anytime now.” Martins said calmly placing a comforting hand on his newly acquired pal’s shoulder. “Make we plan the guy for later, he gas pay for wetin he do our brothers but for now make we leave this place make this night and effort no waste for nothing.”
The other two stared intently at Pablo joking he’d make the right decision and opt to leave, either way Martins had decided his night had come to an end.
After what seemed like forever, Pablo headed towards the gate without another word, his shoulder slumped, his head hanging low. The others could see that he was defeated but it was better than being dead or arrested.
They jogged to the gate, towards the getaway car Pablo and his men had stowed away across the street, they were almost at the entrance when they were hit with the full blast of an incoming headlight which was followed closely by the blaring of a sirens. Without a second thought, they opened fire on the car, stopping it in its track before taking to their heels back into the estate.
“Wetin we go do now?” Chelekwu asked.
“We go find way. If na to use fence we go use am but we gas find our way back to the mansion, lock ourselves in and figure out a way out of this mess.” Martins said looking over his shoulder.
Once inside the Oforka house, they locked the huge gate behind them and headed to the mansion but found it had been locked and barricaded.
They tried frantically to get back in but to no avail, they had left the duplicate key behind after using it, without any thought that they might need it again.
“Wetin we go do now?” Zeus asked wide eyed.
“Look for a ladder and head out back into the bushes. We no fit comot outside again, eke go don surround the area.” Pablo said already looking around for a way out.