When Barrister Ateke’s rented car pulled up at the gate of the guest house, it was obvious to even the blind that something was up at the guest house. The gate was barricaded.
“Sir, I think the guest house is closed.” The driver said to him.
“Keep horning, the gate will be opened.” He instructed, dialling Peter’s no as he spoke, as usual, gsm network didn’t connect the call on the first dial. He re dialled as a security man walked up to the car.
“The guest house is closed temporarily. Nobody is allowed to enter.” The security man said to the driver.
Ateke wound down his glass and shouted to the security man. “My friend will you open that gate right now!” The call to Peter connected. “Peter.” Ateke began, not letting Peter say anything. “Will you ask this clowns to open the gate immediately!”
The guard on hearing Peter’s name snapped erect. “Let me open the gate sir.” He walked speedily to the gate house to mechanically open the gate.
“Look at this incompetent clown.” Ateke ranted at no one in particular. “How was he sure I was actually speaking to Peter. Such incompetence! Drive round to the cottages at the back.” He instructed the driver. “The last cottage.”
Peter and Rufus were waiting outside the cottage, and they walked up to the car as it parked.
Ateke alighted quickly. “What’s the situation?” He barked at them, ignoring their greetings.
Peter cleared his throat. “We’ve gone over every inch of this compound, the senator isn’t here. We’ve quizzed all the staff, no one saw anything. But, last night, a young couple checked into the guest house under the name of Mr and Mrs Davies, also, two men checked into another room. They both checked out this morning. We are working on tracing them. Aside that, all the registered guests are still here. Madam Deola is here as well.” He replied.
“Let’s go in.” Ateke said, and they walked towards the cottage. The hotel manager walked up to them.
“Good afternoon sir.” He greeted Ateke.
“You are…?” Ateke asked.
“Sir, this is the guest house manager.” Peter replied.
Ateke looked him over disdainfully, ignoring his outstretched hand. “What is good about the afternoon? With this mess you let happen because of your incompetence?” Ateke brushed past him and entered the cottage. He almost bumped into Deola, whom having heard his voice was coming out to join them.
“Barrister.” She said in lieu of greeting.
“Deola.” He steadied her and guide her to the nearest sofa.
The senator’s phone rang, Peter passed it to Ateke. “Sir, its the president. This is the second time he’s calling.”
Ateke took the phone and answered the call. “Hello Uche.” Ateke launched into their dialect explaining the situation to the president. After twenty long minutes, he ended the call, all in the room were looking at him expectantly.
“The president is calling the IG as we speak, he is to send his best men to us.” Ateke said.
Deola released her breath, not exactly what she wanted to hear, but an improvement nonetheless. What she wanted to hear was that her beloved Tom was hail and hearty and safe. And this was all a misunderstanding. Peter’s voice broke through her reverie.
“Sir, I called someone for information, and he demanded for 500k for starters.” Peter said.
“Who is this someone?”
“A colleague gone rouge. He should be able to point us in the right direction to look.”
“Do you trust him to deliver?”
“Yes sir. He knows this hood like no one else.”
“Are you sure he isn’t the kidnapper?”
“I don’t think so. We have a kind of rivalry, and as such, were he the kidnapper he would have called to gloat.”
Ateke thought for some seconds. “How does he want the money?” He asked.
John Johnson was angry, very angry. He had been ruling his hood for close to ten years, and in all that time not even a piece of sweet went missing without him knowing about it. Now a senator of the federal republic had been kidnapped in his hood without him knowing anything about it. He stared daggers at the men who were responsible for this lapse in intel. All three of them were going to be severely punished. Such errors might be pardonable in the civilised world, but in the crime world, it wasn’t. These men had to loose something. Had to have a reminder of their failure. And if he found out any of them was paid to look the other way while the senator was taken, the punishment was death.
“So, all of una dey, dey come from outside carry big fish from una, and una sey you no see or hear anything? Clear from my face. Maybe if I cut one ear, pluck one eyes una go take the one wey remain see well well. Clear out!” He barked.
Right then his phone rang, it was Peter.
“Any news for me?” Peter asked when John answered the call.
“It was an outside job. Snatchers aren’t local and they’ve gone underground. Not in this hood.” John replied.
“No one saw or heard?”
“For now nothing. I’m working on it. You keep my money on standby, soon as I have info, we trade.”
They both disconnected the call.
Johnson was going to do all in his power to find the kidnappers. Even if it was just to prove he was in control of his hood.
“Hello, Ada?” HRM Preye Ahaba asked to confirm. The voice sounded like Ada’s and it was her phone he was calling, but the voice sounded, off.
“Yes baby brother.” Lady Ada replied. She was into her second bottle of wine and beginning to feel the effects.
“Are you okay, you sound weird?”
“Never been better baby bro, never.” She always called him baby brother to annoy him.
“Ada I heard your husband has been kidnapped is it true?”
Ada burst into laughter. “Murdered you mean?” She asked in between the laughter.
“Pull yourself together, I think you are drunk. This is not the way a lady behaves.” Preye chastised her.
“Don’t tell me how a lady behaves.” She snapped at him. “I wrote the handbook on being a lady. Now, if you are done consoling me on the death of my husband, I’d like to get back to my wine.”
“I heard he was kidnapped. He hasn’t been confirmed dead, or has he?”
“Kidnapped? Not confirmed dead? Let me call you back.” She ended the call, sobering up immediately.
“Chief chief, the future senator!” Slow hailed his client.
“Why is the subject still alive?”
“Killing him at the scene would have attracted attention.”
“All in due time my chief. Relax, your wish will be carried out.”
“The Inspector general is sending a special squad. Leave Lagos now. Leave his body behind.”
“Yes my chief.” As Slow ended the call, he knew he wasn’t going to kill the senator, not yet.