LIGHTHOUSE - Episode 20

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - commissioner of police, Enugu, Abia State, sergeant, picture, police, criminal, information, kill, money, night.

“Every day is for the thief and one day is for the owner of the house,” the commissioner of police in Enugu State said to Agusi. He had just arrived in Enugu, escorted by a police squad all the way from Abia State. “So, how many people are in your group?” “Just the two of us, sir,” Agusi answered. His hands and legs were heavily cuffed. Katoo!!! A police sergeant punched Agusi in the face causing him to fall backwards. “How many of you are in your group?” The commissioner shouted again. “I am telling you the truth, sir. There are just the two of us,” Agusi reiterated as blood oozed down his face. “Who is the other person then?” “Uduma. Uduma Umeh is my partner’s name, sir.” “Where is he?” “I don’t know, sir. I ran off to Abia State while he stayed here in Enugu.” “Can you produce a picture of him?” “I think so, sir.”

Katoo!!! The angry looking police sergeant punched Agusi again. “Yes…yes, I can find his picture somewhere in my apartment. “Ikiriki, take some men over to his apartment. Take this animal with you. I want a picture of his partner in crime in the next two hours. We have to find him as soon as possible,” the commissioner instructed the sergeant. “Yes, sir.” I won’t tell them about Chidera yet. I have to find a way to make her fight to get me out of this place, otherwise, I will expose her part in the kidnap, Agusi thought to himself. He guarded the information about Chidera religiously. It was his likely way out of police net.

They rummaged Agusi’s apartment until they found a picture of Uduma. It was not a recent picture, but it was enough for the police to go by. They quickly returned to the police headquarters and threw Agusi into detention, while returning the picture to the commissioner. He got on the phone quickly and rang up Ifunanya’s father. “I am sending you a scanned image of the picture we got from the arrested criminal’s apartment. It would help us if she could identify him as the second member of the team before we launch as assault across the State for him.” “Please do, I will have my daughter look at it right away,” Mr. Okoye replied. In less than half an hour, Ifunanya looked at a picture of Uduma and confirmed that he was indeed, the other criminal. Her father relayed the information back to the commissioner.

“Please….please don’t die my child,” Nneka’s mother cried. After trying without success for long, she had rushed Nneka to the hospital, but before doctors and nurses could take a detailed look at her, she died. Dense foam exited her mouth as she lay on the bed with her neck tilted to the side. Her mother held tightly onto her, yelling and crying. Swords of sorrow and pain stabbed brutally at her. “Please stop, madam,” a nurse pleaded with her, but she clung onto Nneka like glue. She could not take the reality that Nneka was gone. Nurses finally managed to squeeze her away. She threw herself to the ground and cried painfully. Then, suddenly, she began to jerk. “She is having a heart attack!” A nurse shouted. They dragged her up and rushed her to the theater, but she died before a doctor could look at her.

The police interviewed everyone who knew Uduma. They had extracted as much information from Agusi. A team was sent to his village where they interviewed his aging parents. Swarms of policemen, both in uniform and plain-cloth searched every possible nook and cranny of Enugu focusing on areas where they had information that Uduma might be hiding, yet there was no sign of him.

Chidera’s phone rang and she answered. “Hello, who is this?” “This is Agusi.” “Agu who?” I thought you were dead?” “Who told you that?” Someone who claimed they were working with you called to say you had died.” Agusi knew it had to be Uduma. “What did he want?” “He wanted the second part of the payment, but I wanted evidence of Ifunanya’s death before paying him, but I haven’t heard from him since then,” Chidera lied. “So, you did not pay him?” “Of course not. What happened to you?” “It is a long story, but I must tell you, you will be next. I am in police detention now. I managed to get my hands on a phone through one of the inmates. You have to get me out of here or…” Agusi stalled.

“Or what?” “You know what I mean. I haven’t told them that you were the one who hired me to kill Ifunanya…yet. You need to find a way to get me out of here; else, I will have no option but to tell them about you.” “What do you want me to do?” “Anything!!! I don’t care what, just do something!” “My goodness! I hire you to kill a girl and you fail? Now you want me to get you out of police custody?” “You had better start doing something now…unless you want to end up in the room next to mine.” Agusi hung up abruptly.

“Who was that? I heard you raising your voice,” said Miranda who opened the door and stuck in her head. “It is nothing,” Chidera lied through her teeth. Just some guy trying to pull a fast one on me.” “A guy? Are you seeing someone?” “Of course not, Miranda.” “There is nothing wrong with that. The sooner you start to forget Emeka, the better for you.” “I guess you are right, but I am not ready for that now.” “Okay. I just wanted to check on you.” “Thanks, Miranda.” You are welcome.” Miranda closed the door and left. Chidera lay on the bed, thinking of what to do. She was visibly worried. She began to scan through her phone book. Then, an idea struck her. She quickly dialed Uduma. She had saved his number after he had called her. What she did not know was that Uduma was outside looking into the compound. He was plotting his entry into the building later that night.

He was standing in the dark beside the opposite building, sipping on a cheap cigarette when his phone rang. He was shocked to find out that it was Chidera calling her. “So, you decided to call me. Do you have my one hundred and twenty thousand naira?” he asked. “I have more than that.” “To what do I owe the change of heart?” “Something has just come up. You lied to me, but that is okay. I found out that your friend, Agusi is still alive. He is being held at the police headquarters and he is going to implicate you and I. He needs me to get him out of police net, but I don’t know anyone who can help with that, so that was when I thought of you. I will pay you the one hundred and twenty thousand naira and an extra two hundred and fifty thousand naira to kill Agusi.

“It is for your own good and mine. If we don’t kill him, both of us will soon end up in police net.” “So, you want me to penetrate police security to kill Agusi. What makes you think that is possible?” “The police are lousy. I am sure you can do that. Get an insider…maybe someone you know who is being held at the same place and have him kill off Agusi with a poison. I can provide you with a deadly one, as far as you are willing to pass it on the person who will administer it to Agusi.” “And you think two hundred and fifty thousand is enough for the job? If Agusi had not been arrested, would you have contacted me?” “What matters now is that you and I have a common problem – Agusi, and I am willing to pay you to remove him permanently from the picture.” “That will cost you half a million naira.” “That is outrageous!” “And you have to pay in full,” Uduma replied coldly.

“I want the money in cash, latest by tomorrow afternoon. I agree with you, if Agusi is not removed from the picture, we are in real trouble.” “Then why are you charging me so much?” “Because I want to,” Uduma answered saucily. As soon as she hung up, Chidera opened the door to the balcony next to her room and walked onto the balcony. Little did she know that Uduma was watching her from the dark across the street. That stupid Agusi…greedy guy. So, he got caught? I have to stay underground. I am sure he has told them about me. Should I shoot this girl now and disappear? No, I need that money…I will kill her after I have the money; he contemplated his next line of action. He retreated and disappeared further into the darkness of the night.

Chidera withdrew all the money she had left in her account and it amounted to just over four hundred thousand naira. She deposited a hundred thousand back into her account and borrowed two hundred thousand from Miranda and another friend. She took the money home and rang up Uduma. “I have the money. Where do you want it?” she asked him. “Bring the money to me tonight. Around 9:30 pm, I want you to take the money to China Town Primary School. It is in Asata. I am sure you know where that is. Once you walk into the school, take right and walk towards the River. It is a lonely place, especially at night. Just walk towards the river and make sure you have all the money with you. I will tell you what to do from there.” “I know the place you are talking about. It is a very scary place at night.” “Yes, it is. What is scarier? Going to jail or walking towards the river?” “Okay, I will be there. I will bring the poison I mentioned to you as well, right?” “Yes, I have an insider who can make sure that Agusi ingests the poison.” “Great! I will see you tonight.” “See you later,” Uduma replied.

It was 9:22 when a taxi dropped Chidera in front of China Town Primary School. The area was dark. There were few functional lights, mostly around St. Paul’s Anglican Church which was on the premises. The taxi driver turned and began to drive away, but Chidera called him back. “Please, can you wait for me?” she asked the driver. “I will have to charge for the time I am going to be here.” “That is fine. I will pay you. Just wait here. I will be back shortly.” She was afraid. She opened the gate and slid into the compound. She took right as Uduma had instructed her. Then she walked around the building and headed towards the river. It was even darker on the tree-lined path towards the river. The moon was nowhere to be seen, completely masked by thick clouds. Her heart was beating as she walked down the hill and headed towards the river. Crickets chirped ominously. Uduma’s eyes were well adapted to the darkness. He had a torch in his pocket, but he’d rather not use it – it could attract unwanted attention. He watched Chidera as she walked towards him. He could tell from the way she picked her steps that she was afraid. Come…come to me greedy girl! Uduma thought to himself as he watched her painstakingly

               CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 21
               CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 19

Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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LIGHTHOUSE - Episode 20
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - commissioner of police, Enugu, Abia State, sergeant, picture, police, criminal, information, kill, money, night. An African Literary Blog
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