Click here to read the previous chapter; Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 1, Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 2, Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 3, Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 4, Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 5, Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 6
They drove in silence. The city side was dark, unusually so since Lagos was dubbed the city that does not sleep. Paul hadn’t been to this side of Nigeria in a while, yet he remembered that the streets used to be lit up with traders selling their wears and street thugs causing a nuisance at this time of night. But now, he could have as well been passing by a ghost city.
Aside from the streetlamps, the whole area was dark. Paul became suspicious. It was protocol to cut power to whole areas before the ingress of shadow agents. This was to keep their queries disoriented or blinded, making it easier for shadow agents to perform their duty.
In this case, Paul was the query. Irene and Scott weren’t since they were simply doing the bidding of their superior—now Thomas. Paul knew that if this blackout was caused by the Shadow Corps, then they were already compromised because it would mean they were being tracked. Try as he did to discard the notion that they were still being followed by some way, he couldn’t. Paul wasn’t trained to lightly consider events. What people saw as coincidence, he was trained to see as enemy action until otherwise proven.
The man they’d gone to wasn’t known to Paul, only to Scott. What if he had somehow planted a chip in them in case he needed an out if he was caught by the shadow agents? It would therefore mean that their journey was ended before it even began.
“Will you loosen up a bit?” Irene’s voice cut through the in his mind. She briefed a glance at him before returning her eyes to the road. “You’re making me antsy.”
Paul hadn’t realized his face was contorted in a focused frown. He loosed him, heaving a sigh as he did. “I’m sorry,” he said.
Irene didn’t reply.
Paul looked at her for a long time, noting the delicate curves on her face, her long, pleasing-to-look-at neck, the slight bulge of her breasts, the firm angles of her waist… He’d held that waist so many times that he’d taken it for granted since it belonged to him. Now he was going to lose it … he was going to lose her. His situation was beginning to dawn on him.
He could ask her to come with him. But then she’d just interpret it as asking her to violate the law and be branded as a sympathizer. Of all the members of his team, Irene was one person who was an extremist with Shadow Corps rules. She would no sooner slit her throat or yours than give up the Corps or go against its tennets. Putting her in that position by asking her to turn her back on the Corps would not only be cruel of Paul, it would be down right madness.
“Will you stop looking at me lewdly?” she spoke, softly.
Paul cut his eyes away from her body. Embarrassed, he focused on Scott’s tail light ahead of their car. They were currently turning at Ikorodu Roundabout and heading toward
“You lost the right to do that, when you decided it was okay to break the rules,” she said.
Paul shook his head, still trying to come to terms with the fact that she was referring to his actions of not burning a bunch of kids to crisp back at the harbor as breaking the rules. He resisted the urge to reply her. He knew that whatever reply he gave would never be enough. It would only lead to an argument.
But Paul failed. “I can’t believe you would burn kids down!” he roared at her, his pent up anger coming to the fore in a bright blaze of glory.
Irene was startled a bit, her hands flinching on the steering wheel.
“It’s not wrong if it’s the mission,” she replied. Her face was clenched tightly.
Paul couldn’t believe was he was hearing. “Killing innocent kids is not wrong?” he asked, the very statement sounding more absurd now he had said it than when it was in his mind. “Who are you?”
Irene turned to look at him before she spoke. “The same girl you’ve been having sex with for the past three months.”
Paul looked away.
“The same girl you professed to be in love with three weeks ago,” Irene continued. “The very same girl you scoured the entire Paris for just to buy a wedding ring for.”
That drew Paul’s gaze. “How did you know about that?” he blurted.
Irene’s eyes were already teary. She blinked away the tears, several drops making their way down her cheek and turning them moist. “You were going to propose?”
Paul didn’t reply. His hand instinctively went into his right pants, where the ring rested. He twirled the object in his fingers, taking time to feel the smooth surface of the diamond stone.
Irene watched him do all that, her suspicion confirmed.
“Then why throw it all away?” she asked, her voice suddenly thick with emotions. “Why throw away what we have?”
“It’s not about us, Irene,” Paul answered. He couldn’t bring himself to look at her. He could feel her grief pour over him like a flood. “It’s about what’s right and what’s wrong.”
“What we have is right,” Irene replied. “It it were a bout that, then you are wrong. Running away like this is wrong. Putting yourself in the position where you have to run away is wrong.”
Paul shit his eyes. This little talk with Irene was giving him a headache. More so, it was making him question his motives.
Why hadn’t he thought about the ring when he’d decided to spare the kids? Why hadn’t he given thought to Irene and how she felt?
Paul eyes flew wide open when he heard the screech of a tire. Up ahead, Scott was bringing his car to a stop. Irene stomped on the brakes, too. They were currently on a two lane road bordered on both sides by dark, eerie trees.
Paul’s reaction was to pick up to phone and call Scott. He wanted to know why they were stopping in the middle of nowhere. But then he heard the distinctive sound of a Shadow Corps drop ship—an incredibly advanced aircraft that ran on shadow energy. He quickly leaned in to the dashboard to look up at the dark skies.
Descending to their position were seven drop ships.
Each drop shop could carry at least twelve shadow agents. Paul did the math. They had sent eighty-four shadow agents t capture him.
Paul didn’t know whether to be flattered or to be terrified.
To Be Continued