I knocked on the door and waited. Kameni, seemed to have heard the sound of my knocking and he paused for a while. Then, he continued ranting again, perhaps believing that the sound he had heard had simply been a figment of his imagination. I knocked again, and this time, he was really convinced that someone was at the door.
“Who is there?” He asked rudely.
“C’est moi, monsieur.” I answered in French.
“Qu’est que vous voulez?”
“J’ai un message de Monsieur Sayou.” I lied.
Believing that I was one of Mr. Sayou’s men, and had really come to deliver a message from Mr. Sayou, he came to the door and opened it. I saw how shocked he was when he realized that he had been tricked. Realizing that that may be his end, he decided to attack first and grabbed my gun before I could shoot. We struggled for a while, but Kameni was, like most men from his tribe, built like a tank, and was very strong. He twisted the gun towards me and pressed the trigger twice. It was a complete miracle that I wasn’t hit by the two bullets that were discharged from the gun.
Realizing that I might be overpowered by Kameni because of his size and his brute force, I decided to switch to judo. I applied “ipon soe nagi” and managed to throw him over my shoulders. For a man that big, he fell with a loud thud and in the process, let go of my gun. But as I tried to straighten up, from his position on the ground, he kicked the gun from my hand, and it fell a few meters away.
I didn’t have the energy to fight. Over the past few days, I had had very little to drink or eat. The small energy that I would have used, I had instead wasted it in trying to make the ladies happy. So, I was seriously dehydrated. My only hope was my gun.
As I went for my gun, Kameni, with the speed of light, sprang from the floor like a trapped animal that had just escaped from its cage and grabbed my both legs. I fell on the floor and lightning quick, he got on me and started strangling me. I felt life draining away from me as I struggled to breathe. Then, suddenly, I heard the sound of gunshot and Kameni froze. His strangle hold on my neck weakened and I saw pain and surprise on his face. That was when I realized it. He had been shot by Stephanie with my gun.
He got up from me and wobbled towards Stephanie. His face was a mixture of anger and shock. As he approached her, she moved backwards, afraid of what might happen if he got hold of her. However, he kept going towards her so, she had no choice. She pointed the gun to his chest and fired again. The force of the bullet almost knocked him off his feet. He grabbed the place where he had been shot, then gave Stephenie that why-did-you-do-this-to-me look. Then he fell on the ground and died.
As soon as he hit the ground, I jumped to my feet as Stephenie ran to me and hugged me tightly. She was in tears. I took the gun from her and put it back in its holster.
“Are you alright?” I asked.
“Yes, I am. You came back for me, Rayim. I can’t believe this. Thank you, so much.”
“I told you that I would come, didn’t I? I promised. Now, let’s get out of here. There is a car waiting for us.” I spoke urgently.
“A car? Where did you get a car? How did you escape?”
“I can’t answer all of that now. Just know that God sent someone to save my life and that person, as we speak, is in a car waiting for us. Let’s go.”
“Can’t I take a few clothes?” She hesitated.
“Nope, I will get you everything you want once we get to the city. We have to go now.”
I dragged her out of the house, and we ran in the direction of the car. When we got there, LaBelle looked very angry but relieved that we had come in one piece.
“What happened, Rayim? What took you so long?” She asked.
“It was hard, LaBelle. I almost got killed.” I replied.
“Thank God you are safe. Is this the person you were talking about?” She asked, referring to Stephanie.”
“Yes, she is. She once gave me a vital life-saving edge. Let’s go.”
We got into the car, and I sped off. As we went, I turned and asked Stephanie how her dearly departed boyfriend knew that I was in her house that fateful day.
“He tricked us.” She spoke. “When he said he was going, after he finished eating, he didn’t go. He made as if he was leaving then doubled back, came to the back of the house, hid and waited. He listened to our entire conversation, even while we made love.”
“Wow!! How did he suspect I was there? That is my main question. For him to have doubled back, it means he had suspected something.” I commented.
“Yes, he said he started having suspicions when it took me too long to open the door for him. Then, his suspicions further heightened when I refused to have sex with him; something I had never done. He said I also looked jumpy and edgy. So, he decided to come back and see what was wrong with me.”
“And we were there like sitting ducks. We would have been killed.” I lamented.
“Good thing he is gone now. However, there would be trouble. Once his body is found in my house, and the villagers realized that I had escaped, that would be all for me and my parents. My house would be set on fire.” She spoke sadly.
“Don’t bother about that. I will use my connections to get you guys resettled. As soon as we get to the city, you have to inform your parents about the recent happenings so that they do not return to the village now.”
“That is true, I will do exactly that as soon as I can.”
LaBelle, who had been silent all this while, finally spoke.
“Rayim, you seem to be causing trouble wherever you go?” She smiled.
“Well, let us put it this way: trouble follows me wherever I go. By the way, you still haven’t told me how you discovered that I was being held at Mr. Sayou’s residence.”
“Well, it was all a coincidence. I was at the restaurant at Chateaux that day when a lady came there to eat. Actually, most of the people from Mr. Sayou’s village always come there to eat. So, a young lady came there with a gentleman, and they talked about a military man called Rayim being held in her father’s house, and that he had managed to escape but was trapped in the village.
Immediately, I suspected that it might be you. So, I tried your number, and it didn’t go through. I went to your neighbourhood and was told about the carnage that took place there. Everyone was talking about it. That night, when my shift was about to finish, a group of Mr. Sayou’s men came to the restaurant. It was their usual place where they pick up prostitutes for him. They had an appointment with a lady, but she didn’t show up. So, I decided to go with them. My aim wasn’t to sleep with him, but to find out if you were really the one who was in trouble.”
“But I had never told you that I was a cop. How on earth did you get to suspect that the same Rayim that was being held, and who was a law enforcement agent, was actually me?” I asked.
“So, you think I didn’t figure you out for a cop? Let me tell you something. It is very easy for anyone to figure out that you are a cop. You look like a cop, you walk like a cop, you dress like a cop, you even make love like a cop.” She spoke and then realized that she shouldn’t have said that because there was a third person in the car.
“And you took such a great risk just to come for me? You could have been killed. Do I mean so much to you?” I asked, surprised.
“In this life, little things do matter. Do you remember when I lost my job? Only one person on this earth bothered to find out how I was faring. That person was you. You comforted me, gave me money and even bought me a fan. That meant a lot to me. So, that was the only
way I could pay you back.” She explained.
“Thank you very much, LaBelle. Now, tell me the truth. How many times have you been to Mr. Sayou’s residence?”
“I know why you asked that question.”
“You think I am one of his prostitutes, right?”
“You are correct.”
“Well, to be honest with you, I have been there about four times. However, this time is the only time that I came as a prostitute. I had only been accompanying my friends there for parties.” She spoke.
“Alright, now I understand why you were so familiar with the surroundings.”
It was almost morning now. We had been driving all night, and now, we had just entered a small village. We decided that we would stop for a short spell, get some snacks before continuing. The car was also indicating that it was running out of fuel. In fact, we had just about thirty minutes worth of fuel left. We decided that we would drive to the village center, hide the car in a convenient place, and then get fuel before continuing. We figured that Mr. Sayou and his people would wait until morning before they started chasing us. We were wrong.
We were only to find out later, but Mr. Sayou and his people hadn’t waited for morning to come before chasing us. They started chasing us immediately we fled. Two factors caused us not to notice that they had overtaken us. One was thanks to the delay I made when I went to rescue Stephanie. The other was because they took a different road. So, hitherto unknown to us, Mr. Sayou and his men were already in the village we have just arrived in. They had asked around and had been told that it was unlikely that we had passed already. So, they were waiting for us.
I left the two ladies in the car and went to ask around if someone could show me where to get fuel. I told them to stay alert for any eventuality, and that if they found or noticed anything suspicious, they should notify me immediately. I also told them that if it got to a situation where they couldn’t get to me, they should forget about me and escape. I would take care of myself.
Satisfied that my instructions had been clearly understood by two ladies, I left them and ventured into the neighbourhoods. The villagers had just woken up from sleep and were going about their different businesses. I stopped one young man and asked him where I could get fuel. He told me that I could get it at the chief’s residence. I asked for the direction, and he gave me. I thanked him and left.
A few minutes later, I arrived the chief’s residence, but I regretted immediately. Parked in front of the chief’s residence were two Land Rovers. Standing in front of the cars were ten men all carrying AK47s and Kalashnikovs, and you wouldn’t believe it. One of them was Mr. Sayou himself. As soon as I saw them, I stopped in my tracks and tried to retreat, but they had seen me first and opened fire.
I fell back behind a house that was close to the chief’s residence and returned fire, killing two of them. But what could I do? It was one man against eight and they were better armed and better equipped. They rained bullets on me, but they were just wasting ammo. I had already left my hiding place and was running fast back towards the village center. My intention was to warn the two girls that we were under attack. I wondered if they hadn’t already heard the sound of gunshots.
As I ran, I heard the sound of a car behind me. I looked behind and realized that they had gotten into their cars and were chasing me. There was no way I could run faster than a car, especially when that car was a Land Rover. So, I had no choice, I had to change my plans. I went through a narrow lane and found myself in front of a home that housed a small family of four; a man, his wife and two little kids. The wife seemed to have gone out because I met just the man and the kids in their living room. They were having breakfast.
Surprised, afraid and alarmed, they scrambled to safety when I got into the house brandishing my weapon. I told them to calm down as I wasn’t there to kill them. I was there to take refuge. The man however, didn’t believe me. He cradled his children in his arms and begged desperately that I should spare his life. I however, succeeded to assure him that he and his family were safe. I told them to stay away from the window so as not to be hit by a stray bullet.
I looked through the open window and saw one of the cars. I had lost them, but they suspected that I was somewhere around. So, they were driving slowly, trying to pinpoint me. I opened fire twice and hit one of the tires of the cars, thereby temporarily immobilizing it. Vexed, the driver came out to check what had happened. That was my opportunity. I pointed my gun at him and opened fire, but my gun clicked. Oh no! I was out of bullets.
Desperately, I fumbled in my jacket in the hope of getting the extra ammunition I had been given by LaBelle to reload my gun, but I couldn’t find it. Then, in great consternation, I remembered. I had forgotten it in the car. That was not good. That put me in a very tight spot. As if to add more fuel to the fire, the men spotted me and started approaching, their guns ready to shoot. I had been cornered. What was I going to do?
As careless and callous as Mr. Sayou’s men could be, they opened fire on the house without even caring that it’s occupants could be hurt or killed. One bullet got the owner of the house in his arm and he fell back, clutching his arm in pains. His children were screaming wildly. I had to do something, and I had to do it fast. I removed my jacket, then my T shirt. I used the T Shirt to tie the man’s wound. Then, I asked him.
“Do you have a gun in this house?”
“Yes, I do. I am a hunter.” He cried in pains.
“Where is it?”
“In my bedroom.”
He ran into his bedroom and returned with a double-barreled hunting gun and handed to me. It had two cartridges in it. Now, you know how the cartridges of a hunting gun function. They are made of several very small pellets. Once it is fired, the pellets scatter in the air and can hit their target in several different places. In fact, depending on the range, one shot can actually hit multiple targets.
Happy with my new weapon, I crawled back to the window, now only in my trousers, aimed carefully and fired. Three men dropped dead on the spot. That meant I had killed five men, five more to go, excluding Mr. Sayou himself. I pointed the gun again and opened fire, but I hit nothing. The other men had retreated. I wondered where they had gone to, but I could hear Mr. Sayou’s voice a short distance away, barking orders in great anger.
“Are you alright?” I asked the injured house owner.
“Yes, Sir. I think I am. It looks like it’s just a flesh wound.” He replied with a grimace.
“That is good. Don’t worry, I will get you medical attention as soon as possible. Stay right here, you and your children. I want to take a look around. I will be right back. For your own safety, please, don’t move.”
I went through the back of the house ready to shoot anything that came my way. I had just a rudimentary weapon with me, a hunting gun. However, I was trained, and the owner had given me some extra ammunition. I was ready to take my chances. I was about to round a small bend in the tight compound when I heard the voice of female crying sadly. Then a voice spoke.
“Tell him to come out or you are going to die.”
I stamped my feet in anger and frustration. The worst had happened.
LaBelle and Stephanie had been captured.
TO BE CONTINUED…