The day was cloudy and gloom – reminiscent of his mood.
It was a good day to kill.
He didn’t much go for the idea of performing his duties in the dead of night. Too many things could go wrong. Besides, these days with all the streets having some sort of security – from OPC to uniformed guards and in some cases; the police, getting in and getting out might be an issue.
But in broad daylight it was easier. Go in, do the job, come out and blend with the one thousand and one faceless hustlers trolling Lagos streets.
And another million in the account. Easy.
But as he watched the house he was headed into from the store window opposite, Seyitan couldn’t quite disperse the gloom hanging over him. He thought it was the weather – and then he realized it wasn’t just that.
Something no pure about this one; he thought.
He drank from the Orijin bottle and smacked his lips. And then, feeling his waist for his G43 Glock 9mm, he crossed the street and into the building, negligently tossing the bottle in the dustbin in front of the store.
The smartly-dressed security guard opened the door, waved him inside without checking for ID or anything – and then closed the heavy metal door behind him. He made his way into the lobby –
And he realized his instincts were right. They were waiting.
The first thing he saw were two heavily-armed soldiers leaning against the far wall of the lobby, making small talk and eyeballing him with hard, bloodshot eyes. On the raised landing in front of the target’s office, three guys in suits and shades that looked like wannabe CIA spooks were lounging – they couldn’t be any more obvious.
They hadn’t noticed him yet.
Damn that Collyde guy!
He knew his only chance of making it out was the element of surprise. Why they weren’t arresting or shooting him yet he didn’t know – but he would capitalize on that. With a grunt, he whipped out his pistol and shot both army guys in the head.
They went down smoothly – like they were taking orders to fall like a log. The suits scrambled for their guns; but only one succeeded in getting his out.
And it did him no good.
Six more times the gun in Seyitan’s hand coughed, six more times as he executed his would-be executioners with a move he learnt in a Keanu Reeves movie; one for the heart and one for the head.
He didn’t miss.
Jumping to the landing, he kicked the door open and dived onto the floor, expecting a rain of bullets.
He needn’t have bothered. The target, a slim light-skinned man in a business suit was cowering behind his desk, blabbing incoherently into a phone he could barely hold. He froze as he saw the killer rise from the floor – and he dropped the phone, raising both hands in supplication.
Seyitan shot him in the head.
As he made his way out of the door, something white-hot lodged in his neck – and then echoes of a gunshot rang in his ears. He fell forward, gun coming free of his loose grip. He held his neck as his lifeblood ran out – and as his sight dimmed he wondered who had shot – who had killed him.
Who did I miss?
His fast fading sight identified his killer – a killer whose shaking hands dropped the still-smoking pistol, Seyitan died with a smile on his lips at the ridiculousness of the situation – having not died from the hands of soldiers or professional bodyguards…
But at the hands of a bloody secretary.
It was a good day to die.
She caught his eye as soon as she walked in the door.
If this was at a place like Rapsody’s – or Beerhugz; or even maybe Chicken Republic – or any of the other outlets, clubs and joints that litter Lagos streets like so many bad billboards; a man noticing a woman – especially a woman like the one that just walked in the cliché door – would be nothing out of the ordinary.
But because it wasn’t in any of those places, it was noteworthy.
She had just walked into her apartment on the first floor of a three-storey building. He was hiding in the ceiling of said apartment, sweating while waiting and watching for someone – her; it would seem, though the reason for his watching and waiting wasn’t immediately clear.
From his vantage point, he could see her clearly – as clearly as though she was on the largest screen in the largest viewing room at the Silverbird Galleria.
Which was saying much, considering his view point – a small hole hastily carved into a corner of the ceiling boards.
His glance one again involuntarily sought out the picture his left hand was holding – and he whistled silently. He would have liked to think it was taken without her consent; but her smile and the unabashed way she was looking directly into the camera put paid to that assumption.
It was not fair to her – the picture was not fair to her. Not in the least.
Taking a last look at it, he shoved it into his chest pocket, moving awkwardly from his chest-down position – and continued to stare at her. She was on the phone, giggling animatedly. The soft bubbling streams of her laughter permeated the stale air around him and pulled at some invisible strings in his chest area – strings he would have sworn before now no longer existed.
He ignored the feeling; shoving it down into a place cold, still and hard – and concentrated on his quarry. Now, she was shrugging the silk wrap off her shoulders, playfully wriggling shoulders that looked like soft chocolate. Slowly she kicked off the black stilettos, leaving a strip of glimmering silver around her left ankle. And then she took off her earrings; one after the other and dumped them on the table beside the Samsung phone.
He swallowed thickly as she stood on tiptoes and stretched languidly, humming a tune he recognized as Banky W’s Strong Tin. She twirled as she hummed, waving her arms around and smiling happily. She looked like you and I looked the first time we realized the funny feeling in our stomach wasn’t hunger – but love.
She stopped dancing suddenly and moved her arms behind her neck. Before he could do more than blink, she was standing clad only in a lace bra and panties – dress falling around her legs in a slow cascade of black. He carefully craned his neck so he could look further down into the room; unwilling to lose sight of her as she started walking towards him –
And then, she disappeared.
A moment later, the sounds of running water came to him and helped him conclude she was going to take a bath. Ignoring the sweat running down his face – sweat as a result of heat; internal and external, he crawled forward slowly on hand and knees. He was carefully to avoid the joints of the ceiling – the last thing he wanted was to fall into the room with the gun in his other hand.
The reason for the gun was clear.
He was there to kill her.
Seun Odukoya Presents: