LIGHTHOUSE - Episode 16

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - gun, pickup, driver, commissioner, Police, kidnappers, bank, ten million naira, a trip to Dubai, London, shopping in France.

Ifunanya looked back and saw Uduma chasing hard after her. She mustered all her strength and pushed her aching body down the road. The rough, gravel-covered surface of Enugu showed little hospitality to the soles of her soft, gently feet. She had lost her shoes, so her feet were mercilessly bruised by sharp, jiggered stones. She was breathing hard as fatigue set in. Uduma doubled his pace, closing the gap between himself and Ifunanya. She can’t get away, he thought as he pushed himself forward. The next time Ifunanya looked back, he was much closer. Then, she felt hot fluid racing down her legs. One look at her fatigued legs confirmed her worst fear. Blood was drooling from her laps down towards her ankles.

Uduma dipped his hands in the pocket of his jacket and felt his gun. Any moment now, he thought. Soon, I will catch up with that bitch!!! He assured himself, closing the gap between them even further. Ifunanya left a streak of blood behind her. Then she sighted a pickup truck ahead. It was an old rickety pickup, which dangled lazily down the hill. God, I can’t climb this hill, she thought looking over her shoulder one more time. Uduma was speeding towards her. She raced her hand and waved at the driver of the pickup that was coming in her direction. “Help! Please help me!!!” She yelled on the lonely road, waving frantically at the driver. “Please help me!!!” She reiterated as loudly as she could shout.

The driver saw her waving. He slowed down just in front of her. “Please help me!!!” She shouted. Uduma saw the driver pull up beside Ifunanya who was pointing at him. He could not take any chances. The driver might scoop her right away. He took out his gun as he ran. The driver saw the gun. Fear jumped into his eyes. Instinctively, he marched hard on the accelerator, nudging the old rickety pickup towards Uduma. He swerved to the left, placing the old pickup slightly between Uduma and Ifunanya. Ifunanya saw her opportunity. She had to act or risk being hit by a bullet. Uduma lifted the gun, slowing down as he tried to get a clean shot. The driver pushed the old vehicle further towards Uduma. Ifunanya mustered al her strength and swerved turning to the left and dashing across the road, behind the pickup.

Kpo! Kpo! Kpo! Uduma’s gun went off, leaving a deafening noise in the air. Ifunanya dashed across the road and into a ditch. She was certain that she had been hit by a bullet. “God, please accept my soul,” she prayed as she dropped into the ditch. The driver steered the pickup van towards Uduma, who jumped off the side of the road and into the nearby bush. He smashed against tree branches. His gun dropped, but he picked it up quickly. He was out of bullet. His locally made gun could only take three bullets. The driver saw him reach for his pocket. He stepped heavily on the brake and brought his car to a halt. He shut off the engine, jumped out of the van and lunged at Uduma knocking the gun off his hand. Before Uduma could respond, the rotund driver landed a nasty blow on his face, sending him flying further into the bushes. He saw stars flickering in the air as he crashed against tree stumps.

From the corner of his eye, he saw the bulky driver coming towards him. He had lost his gun – his power. He dragged himself up as quickly as he could and ran further into the bushes. Stares of all shapes and sizes flickered in his sight as he sped away from the driver. The driver looked around, found the gun, picked it up and walked back towards his pickup. He tossed the gun in the back of his pickup and began to search for Ifunanya. He walked across the road to the last place he had seen her as she dashed frenziedly across the road. Looking down, he found her lying in the ditch. He hurried down into the ditch, picked her limp body up and placed her on the passenger’s side of his van. Hurriedly, he revved the engine of the old rickety pickup to life and sped off in search of the nearest hospital.

“I want you to contact every police station in this state and the surrounding states and tell them that two kidnappers are on the run!” The state commissioner of police yelled at his men. He was infuriated to hear that the kidnappers had escaped despite extensive efforts and plans to trap them. “Yes, sir,” the policemen on the receiving end of the commissioner’s rage said. “Go, go now and get me results fast!” The commissioner shouted. He knew Ifunanya’s father very well, so he was keen to find his daughter. Ifunanya’s father had managed to hitch a ride back to the city. A police unit was quickly dispatched to scour the Enugu – Port Harcourt expressway. The police got in touch with police headquarters in all the surrounding states and informed them that some kidnappers had made away with fake currency. Police headquarters informed banks of the likely deposition of fake currencies in all the surrounding states.

Agusi pulled into the car pack at a First Bank of Nigeria Branch on Owerri Road, Aba. The street was buzzing with life as usual. Customers streamed in and out of the busy branch. Agusi went to his trunk and threw all the money into one big bag. He locked the bag firmly and shut the trunk. He carefully walked into the banking hall. He scanned the area to make sure that the coast was clear. “Excuse me, please can I talk to your manager?” he asked a customer service lady. She was a young girl in her twenties. She shot a smile at him – the typical smile that you get from customer service girls at banks.

She was keen to size Agusi up. It was common practice for the customer service girls to try to work out the worth of a customer – for their own selfish interest. Wealthy customers got express service, which meant that they were likely to ask for your phone number or arrogantly drop their business card in your lap. “Please may I know who is looking for him?” she asked Agusi, still smiling. She looked at his pair of shoes, and then his watch. She could not place those – that is, the worth of those items. “My name is Agusi Omeje. I have an important business to discuss with the manager,” Agusi answered. “I will certainly fetch him for you, but could you tell me, are you a customer?” “Yes, of course,” he answered showing her his bank note.

“So what sort of business would you like to discuss with him?” “I have an important deposit to make, which will require some logistical planning. I am sure he can make that happen soon enough to save me some time.” “Of course, we are always looking to save our esteemed customers time.” She got up and sauntered majestically like a model walking down the red runway. Agusi could not help but notice her endowments as her waist galloped invitingly. I am sure she will be happy to sleep with me after this transaction, Agusi assured himself as he gawked at her.

“How can we help you, sir?” the manager asked. He was young for a bank manager; no more than thirty-two years. “My name is Agusi Omeje. I am the director and CEO of Aguson Investments. Here is my card,” Agusi introduced himself thrusting a business card to the bank manager. “You see, one of our clients made a massive procurement worth millions and he paid in cash. While we were making plans to lodge the money into our account, two other big customers made massive buys at our shops and paid in cash too. So, you see, I have millions to deposit with you, but I can’t possibly stand while you count the money. I was wondering if you would make special arrangements to have the money counted in your vault or elsewhere, credit my account and let me know when the transaction is complete.”

The young customer service girl was listening. Her attention peaked. She barely listened to any other customer. She was eager to get Agusi’s card before he left. “Of course, we can do that. Do you need help to bring the money in?” The bank manager answered excitedly. “Yes…yes, I do.” “Okorie!!!” The manager called to the branch’s chief security officer. “Yes, sir.” “Please come here. Bring two men with you.” Two uniformed men appeared almost immediately. “How much as we looking at?” the bank manager asked. “About ten million naira.” “Please, Okorie, help this customer to bring some money in. Take the money to the room beside my office.” “Yes sir.” Agusi headed outside with the three men to bring in the money. The customer service girl was salivating. The sound of ten million naira was ringing in her ear. Ten million naira? She thought to herself. She imagined a million things she could buy, as soon as she hooked Agusi – a trip to Dubai, London, shopping in France. Her imagination was running wild.

               CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 17
               CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 15

Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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LIGHTHOUSE - Episode 16
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - gun, pickup, driver, commissioner, Police, kidnappers, bank, ten million naira, a trip to Dubai, London, shopping in France. An African Literary Blog
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