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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - helicopter, Tekno’s Pana, soldiers, bedsheet, a shirt on a clothes line, snipers, gun.

Hurriedly, Idriga grabbed his backpack and hung it onto his back and made a mad dash for the door. As soon as he opened the door, he sighted the helicopter hovering above. It was coming in fast. He knew the drill; snipers were positioned on either side of the helicopter, ready to gun him down. It was a short distance between him and his car, but that was enough to send him to an early grave. He slammed the door shut and made a run for the window. He pulled the curtain aside and peered outside. The place was swarming with soldiers; heavily armed soldiers whose guns were ready to shoot at the drop of a hat. No, I am not going to die like this, he thought to himself. He heard Tekno’s Pana blasting away in the room above his. Obviously, the guests above did not know what was going on outside. This was not time for Tekno or Pana, his life was on the line. Adrenaline was rushing through his blood.

His training instincts kicked in. He stared at the air vent above his room. Quickly, he began to pry it open with a blunt knife on his table. Frantically, he cracked it open. He pulled the lid off, tossed it onto the bed and began to climb through the vent. He crawled through a narrow, dust-covered vent to the first floor. Tekno’s Pana was still blasting away on the first floor. He reached the end of the vent and began to work on the lid with the blunt knife. The helicopter hovered above, slowly cruising over the car park with snipers on either side looking through the binoculars of a gun. “Where is he?” a soldier asked the receptionist who had made the call. “He is in room 014,” he replied. The soldiers headed towards the room. Some of them ushered guests away from the area as they got ready to blow the room open.

“Don’t try to take him alive. Shoot him…make sure you shoot him,” Sale, the president’s chief security officer, the leader of the group that shot Linda informed the leader of the team hunting Idriga. “I thought we were supposed to arrest him, at least at first,” the leader of the squad protested. “Do as I say. This is an order from the president’s officer. Idriga is a very dangerous man…highly trained. Do not put the lives of your men at risk by trying to arrest him. Shot him on sight!” Sale barked at him. “Okay sir, I will do as you said.”

Idriga cut through the lid and jumped out of the air vent and into the hallway on the first floor. People were rushing in all directions out of fear. He joined the stream of humanity, looking for an exit. His heart was pounding. He found an open room. He darted in and a cleaner was just leaving the room. “Won’t you run with the rest?” she asked him. She was clad in long overalls – a white hotel uniform and a blue head cover. Instinctively, he kicked the door shut, dragged her onto the bed and placed a hand over her mouth. “I won’t hurt you. Please just do as I say. Someone is trying to kill me even though I have done nothing wrong. Please help me. I need your uniform,” Idriga explained to her.

Her eyes were filled with fear as she nodded. “I won’t harm you, I promise. I am not a bad person, okay?” She nodded again. Her eyes were fixed on the blunt knife in his hand. He noticed the direction of her eyes. He stretched and placed the knife on the table next to the bed. Slowly, he removed his hand from her mouth. “Just go in the bathroom, remove your clothes and cover yourself with the bedsheet,” he instructed her, handing her the bedsheet he had yanked off the bed. When you are through, just stay here. You are safe here. If you run, you might be hit by bullets. Be fast and I want your bra too.” She walked into the bathroom, shaking.

When she was done, she wrapped herself in the bedsheet and handed him her hotel uniform and other paraphernalia. He took a rope from his bag and tied her to the bed and then gagged her. “I don’t want you to talk to them until I am out of here. I am very sorry; I won’t tie you too tightly, okay?” She nodded; again fear was scribbled all over her face. He ran into the bathroom and reappeared in the hotel uniform. With the bra on, under which he stuffed towels, the head cover and slippers, he looked like a woman in the chaos. He tossed his backpack in the cleaner’s trolley covered it with towels and headed out of the room, carefully locking the door behind him. He moved as fast as he could.

Gbim!!! He heard an explosion downstairs. The madness in the hotel intensified. Soldiers looked into the faces of people rushing out of the building, and comparing each face against Idriga’s picture. “Do you want to get killed woman?” A soldier asked Idriga as he headed out of the elevator. He said nothing, looking fear stricken. He ran past the soldier with his heart pounding. The soldiers threw tear gas into room 014 to flush him out. People were tearing up and crying while the soldiers covered their air ways with mask. Idriga meandered into the running crowd and headed for the road. He hardly looked back. Soon, he was on the other side of the street. Another explosion sounded at the hotel as soldiers tried to flush him out.

“Who did that to you?” A soldier asked the tied cleaner. He was running through the first floor checking all the rooms. He yanked the gags off and the cleaner explained what happened in panic. The soldier rushed downstairs shouting “He is gone. Fan out! He is not in there!” He explained to his boss what the cleaner had told him. The helicopter was radioed to head across the street. Idriga jumped into a barbers shop and exited through the back. He scaled the wall at the back and ran into the next street. He heard the sound of the approaching helicopter. He ducked under a tree. A dog began to bark at him. It was a massive Doberman. He remained quiet. “Circle around that tree,” one of the snipers told the pilot. “I saw a dog barking at a figure there.” More soldiers began to swarm into the surrounding streets.

Idriga looked up and saw the helicopter coming back. He got up and ran into the house. Gunshots rang out. He was narrowly missed by the snipers. The house he had run into was a massive building, with numerous apartments. The helicopter radioed soldiers on ground to circle the building. While they described the building to the soldiers on ground, Idriga jumped out of the cumbersome cleaner’s uniform. He wore his clothes underneath. He ran into an apartment, found a shirt on a clothes line on the balcony. He took the shirt, removed his long sleeve shirt and put the T-shirt on. He looked through the window and saw soldiers rushing into the building. He quickly raced downstairs and ducked into another apartment. His heart was beating fast and his hands shook violently.

“Who are you?” asked the tenant of the apartment. It was a small, shoddy apartment. The tenant, a plump lady sprung to her feet and threw an impulsive punch at Idriga. “Where is he?” a soldier yelled outside, questioning a young man. “I don’t know,” he replied. Idriga threw his right hand over the plump lady’s mouth and tackled her onto the bed. “Oh, you want to rape me?” she asked in a muffle tone. “Shh!!! I am not going to hurt you. I am being pursued by some killers dressed like soldiers,” he lied to her. Her eyes got bigger. “Why?” “It is a long story. Please don’t say a word. If you talk, they will come in here and kill you and I.” “I think I have seen your face somewhere,” the lady said keeping her voice low. “No, we have never met,” Idriga answer, afraid that she may have seen the TV announcement with his picture. “Keep quiet, they are all over the compound,” Idriga cautioned her.

A soldier released shots into the air outside to inform the tenant that he and his men meant business. The plump lady nearly peed in her pants. “So, you are serious?” she asked him. “Of course, I am.” The soldiers began to search the building, one apartment after another. Idriga peered through a crack in the window; the front of the house was swarming with gun-wielding soldiers. Inside, they were all over the place. He heard the soldiers slap tenants around. “Where is he?” they shouted in frustration. Sale had been calling to put more pressure on them to find and kill Idriga.

“I…I saw a man run from the first floor to the ground floor,” a teenager answered the soldiers after two dirty slaps. “Where exactly did he run into?” “I don’t know, sir. I just saw him run.” “Did he leave the building?” “No sir; because I could see the entrance from my position. He just ran downstairs and disappeared.” “Men, focus on the apartments downstairs,” the sergeant ordered his men. A few minutes later, they were two doors away from the plump lady’s apartment. Idriga stared into empty space. There was no way out. How am I supposed to die for doing nothing wrong? He pondered as tears began to cloud her eyes. He could hear them searching the room next door. Another round of shots rang out, filling the building with fear…fear-inducing noise.

Then, he heard a bang on the door. “Anyone in there before we blow this door open?” An angry voice asked. “Come with me,” the plump lady said in a low, hushed tone. There was a narrow, low door behind her old cupboard. They sneaked into it and gently pushed the cupboard back into position. Inside, there was a small tunnel behind the door. The plump lady squeezed through and Idriga followed her. When they reached the next door, she said, “This is an outlet to the next building across the road. When I open the door, there is another door that takes you across the road underground. My uncle owns this house. His grandfather left it for him. I look after the building, so he showed me all the hidden tunnels that his grandfather had added to the house back in the day when it was built. He owned the building across the road too, so he used to sneak from one house to the other without people knowing where he was…he was rich then, so he had to be careful, you know,” she said.

Idriga could not believe his luck. He gave her a hug, opened the door and then opened the next one. “Don’t go back until they are gone,” he advised her. “I won’t,” she replied emphatically. “Thank you…God bless you!” Idriga said. “Take care!” He disappeared into the second tunnel and headed across the road. When he reached the next building, he remained in the tunnel, afraid that the helicopter might pick him out again. He remained by the tunnel exit, quietly listening and waiting for darkness to provide cover for him. His heart pounded ferociously.


Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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