NOVEMBER 1, 2017
It’s time for me to leave this damned hospital. I checked the clock on the wall. 11: 45pm. I disconnected the damned IV inserted into my hands. I looked outside the window. In the illuminated street, I saw a black car park right in front of the hospital. A moment later, three men in mask jumped out of the car. They were holding rifles in their hands. Instinct told me they had come for me. Why they had taken so much time to come for me, I didn’t know. They started firing guns. I knew it was time to run. I was still weak but it’s not my time to die.
I ran out of the ward I was in. I ran quickly to the elevator and I hit the button. I was afraid I’d see men in masks in it, but it was empty. I quickly ran into it and I hit the button to the ground floor. My heartbeats doubled and adrenaline ran its course through my blood. Immediately, the elevator pinged open, I ran out looking carefully left and right. I had narrowly escaped one of the men, but then I tripped and fell. I had given myself to them. But it isn’t too late. I sped to the entrance of the hospital. But the man had pulled his gun. He aimed directly at my head. I’m pretty sure his orders were to eliminate me. The bullet hit the glass door and it exploded with shards of glass flying here and there. A shard and hit me and I bled. I bent and for a second, the man lost his focus on me. I couldn’t wait to know what had happened. I ran like a mad man out of the hospital. I ran into the streets and hid in one corner. I looked at the spot where the glass had hit my skin. It isn’t that bad. I peeped from the corner I was. The terrorists started combing the area for me. They knew I was on foot so I couldn’t have gotten far. At this time of the night, few vehicles were driving in the streets. Then, luck smiled on me and a taxi was approaching. I had no money on me but I need to get away from these men as fast as I could. I flagged down the taxi and I got into it. The man in the cab looked tired, “Where are you going to?”, he said in a thick Yoruba accent. I traced his accent to Ibadan in Nigeria. I looked at his face and I recognized the tribal marks on his cheeks. I had worked on tribal marks in the past year as a blogger. “Drive me as fast as you can far away as you can. There are people chasing me and nobody can help me right now”
The man drove as fast as he could but he was too late.
The masked men had spotted me rush into a cab and they began to tail the cab. The taxi driver had driven as fast as he could, but he was no match for the men. They followed the cab as it drove through the streets of Palmgrove, Lagos. They began to get very closer. My heart began pounding again. I began directing the driver to take lefts and rights in order to lose the men but as there were few cars on the streets, they were always behind the car. I looked behind and I saw one of the men targeting a gun at the tire of the taxi. Oops, this is not good. The first gunshot had hit the back of the taxi. The driver looked up in horror. And he sped up. He knew he had made a mistake agreeing to drive me. These people after me would kill him too, I thought sadly.
If they get to me…
I ordered the driver to drive straight through the independence tunnel at Maryland, Lagos. The tunnel was a short one but it had provided distraction I wanted. Although, it was illuminated in the dark, the driver had quickly manoeuvred to the BRT lane at the exit of the tunnel. Before the evil men could notice, the driver had driven to the last lane, the one outside of the expressway. The evil men were no longer behind us but two lanes beside us. All the driver needed to do is to drive through any street before we get to the next bus-stop. The driver did this efficiently and while the men neared the Ojota bus-stop, we were gone. I knew they were gone momentarily and they would soon pick up the trail again. The taxi driver finally drove to a halt, and asked for the money for the ride, and I was unable to provide him. I told him after he had begun his protests, “Abandon your taxi if you want to live”
Now, I was walking through the streets which I do not recognize. Then it hit me. I should call Rasaq. Though I despise him even though I told myself I had forgiven him for the wrong-doing, there was nobody else I know. I know he would be glad to help me. I rang him, and he picked up, “Hello?”, he said in a confused tone. I had woken him.
“Hey, Rasaq. It’s me, Halema, I’m here in Lagos. Some people have been chasing me. They’re trying to kill me”, I said in gasps.
“What? Where are you?”, he demanded.
“I’m in a street in Ojota. I don’t know the name of the street. Please come and pick me up”, I said, confused.
“Look around you, Halema. You’ll see the name of the street.”
I finally saw it and I told him. “Hide in a house. I’ll give you a signal. Three horns.”
But unknown to both of them, the call was monitored… Few meters away, the masked men got a call. They now know where she is and how they’ll get her. Very simple. Three horns!
I waited patiently for Rasaq. I had planned my escape plan in my mind. Run to the airport. Book the nearest flight to US. I was still planning my escape plan when I heard the sound of an approaching car. I hid myself, but then I heard the three horns. I was relieved. Rasaq is here to protect me. I came out of my hiding site and I had moved close to the car. I had almost opened the door when my phone buzzed and I saw a message from Rasaq. I’m still on my way. Remain where you are!
What? Quickly, I ran away from the car. The men had left the car and had started running close to me. I started feeling a pain in my stomach. I started losing consciousness. I couldn’t wait for this nightmare to be over. Why I was being chased I do not know. Why they wanted me dead escapes me. One thing is for sure these men would not stop until they get their way.
I ran out of the streets and I was running out of breath when I saw an approaching car. Rasaq! It was indeed Rasaq, he quickly opened the door to his Jeep when he saw the men running behind me and I ran inside quickly. One of the men shot multiple bullets to the car. Weird noises were produced as bullets hit metal. Rasaq looked at me and wondered what could have happened. There’s no time to explain. Rasaq was an excellent driver and his Jeep was, well, an excellent car. He drove far above the speed limit. Life is more important than law. He made curves where he thought he was being followed. He took roundabouts and we drove through the same road twice to lose the men. He eventually lost the men and he finally drove us to his house in Palmgrove. On the way home, he asked, “Halema, what happened? Who are these people?”
“Honestly, I do not know. I had survived a plane crash and today, they came to attack the hospital. I knew they were coming for me. And only God could explain how I got away from them.”
“I have contacts with the State Security Service (SSS). I’ll ask him to send me a footage of what had happened at the hospital”, he said.
“I really do not have time for that. I need to book a flight to US. It’s safer for me there.”
“And you will, Halema. To run away from your enemy, you have to know who they are. You have to be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Now, tell me everything you know about them”, he demanded, “I suppose they are not with any government. Are they?”
“They are with what is greater than government. They are with Isil or Isis or IS, choose any derivative you want. Apparently, they’re cooking a doomsday for the world on November 13th. I figured out about their dirty little secret and gave the information to the CIA. And now, I’m wanted dead.”
Rasaq’s face reflected pure horror. “Halema, there are some things better left as they are. From what I hear, you’re fighting against an international enemy. I’ll book you a flight to USA with Arik now. You have to be under the protection of the CIA as soon as possible”
He took a round-about and he drove to Ikeja where the airport was located. We booked a flight to Florida, USA where the headquarters of CIA is located. The flight was to take off in the next hour and I waited for what seemed like the most horrible hour. My heart was constantly pounding. I was afraid some masked men would approach me and end me in a bullet. My life is too precious. I can’t die now. I thought about my blog and how I had risen to popularity. I was just lucky; I had always told myself. Now I understand the meaning of the saying: Curiosity kills the cat. I was too curious. I uncovered all that didn’t concern me. But isn’t that what is called the human nature?
We’ll always seek for answers to the questions that trouble us. Our minds wouldn’t have a damned rest until our suspicion is confirmed or proven untrue. I am not a scientist but I love what they do. They find answers without caring for those who say their soul will be condemned for eternity for asking questions. I mean, why shouldn’t we? I remembered an article I had read that it is easier for us to believe the things we hear than to doubt it. That is the reason why little children are so gullible that they’d believe it if we told them rain is angel’s tears meant to wash away our sins. Science has always been more convincing than religion and it always will. I mean, in science, questions are asked and for every fact, an explanation is expected. In religion, we get weird stuffs like a star falling onto a river and making the water bitter or even from the Genesis that apparently, light was created after the Earth was created and in Islam, space travel is impossible. I do not know much about science but I do know stars are much bigger than Earth and a star would wipe out the entire planet instead of making the river bitter and I do know some astronauts have the left the surface of Earth.
Questions we have asked have changed our world. But sometimes, the questions we ask can put us into trouble. Galileo messed with the wrong people, the Catholics. I’ve messed with the wrong people, the Isil.
Rasaq’s voice beside me brought me to the present. He had been watching me for a long while. He knew I was thinking. Well, who wouldn’t? An army of unstoppable and unfathomable force is after you. I’m a rodent and they’re immortal.
He said, “your flight will take off in five minutes. I believe you’ll be safer over there than here.”
I replied, “Thank you very much for what you’ve done for me this night. I appreciate”, I pulled out my hands to give him a friendly shake and I noticed he wore a new ring. He remarried. Well, I didn’t tie him to myself. I moved on and he moved on.
“And sorry for separating you from your family”, I smiled. Rasaq smiled too and I left him. I checked in to the plane and few minutes later the plane took off and it began its journey to USA. The CIA got a lot of explanations to make. How had information about me leaked to the enemy? Lots of things did not make sense. Everything seemed very sketchy. I was tired of this game. I am not an expert in these things but two things are certain. I am no longer afraid of my life and I am going to the bottom of this.