A painful smack jolts me up. I’m breathing heavily. The bus scenery slowly calms me down. There’s something different about this day, though. The bus is moving, with all the seats occupied. Beside me is the woman from yesterday. I woke up earlier than usual.
“Someone had to put out your loud snore.” She smiles. “Good morning. Ready to find your murderer?”
“Why don’t you just tell me who the killer is so we can end this stuff right now?” My irritation towards her is returning.
“What’s the fun in life without uncertainties?” She replies.
I resist the urge to wipe off the smug on her face. This is my life we are talking about. My existence has been reduced to misery and futility, and she thinks it’s a joke.
She clears her throat, noticing my disgust. “My apology, David. Let’s get back to business. I’ll give you a small hint. There’s a guy, three rows behind ours. He’s… don’t look back!”
I stop my head from rotating and she continues. “He’s wearing a black polo shirt and a matching P cap. I’ve seen him sneak into your law chamber several times like he’s stalking you. Start with him.”
I am starting to believe her. And if she’s wrong, I have tomorrow to lash her. Truth is, I’m developing a whetting curiosity to know my murderer. Who would want to kill me?
The bus halts and we wait for Black Polo to step out, along with other passengers. His huge frame makes me cringe inwardly. But Mercy pushes me out of my seat, although refusing to come. I step out of the bus before my boss arrives and follow Black Polo, taking cover in the crowd. He enters the building through the back door, knocking out the gateman. I’m almost distracted by the unconscious fellow, but I prod forward and wait for both of us to get to the empty hallway. There, I pounce on him.
But his body is a hard rock; it hurls me to the ground. Black Polo gives me his front view. His dark face has a straight scar that runs across his left cheek, from the nose. His eyes shimmer with rage. I stammer an apology, retreating to the wall. But he grabs my neck, sucking out all the air in my lungs. My limbs fly in the air as I try to break free. I go blank for some seconds as the pain of the first punch on my face registers.
“Hel…” His palm clamps over my mouth, sputtering blood on the wall. A hail of blows and kicks begins to fall on every part of my body. The entire staff are in the reception waiting for the arrival of ‘the genius’ who is here fighting for his life.
A scream broke through the air. Someone has come to rescue me. The blows cease, as I sink into oblivion. Happiness surges through me, and not because I am becoming numb to the pain, but because I have now seen the face of my killer.
Someone is tapping my arm, dragging me out of what feels like a boat, rocking in still waters. I want to respond, but a weight suppresses me. My eyes are too heavy to open.
“Poor thing.” I don’t miss the voice. Mercy.
“You…” I cough. She tricked me into entering the lion’s den and has come to mock me.
“I came to apologise,” she says. “I feel responsible for what happened this morning.”
“End… today.” I force out the words, hoping it will convey my message.
“You want the day to end now?” She snorts. “Sorry, rules are rules. You will have to wait till three minutes past eight. Just rest, okay? Tomorrow, we’ll come up with a better idea.”
I slip in and out of consciousness the whole day, Mama and Sali doting on me. Agony comes with the wearing off of the pain relievers, making the wait unbearable. And now, I feel a presence hovering above me, pulling out the oxygen tube in my nose.
I am more than grateful.
“I have something for you.” Mercy announces the moment she wakes me up. We are back on the bus.
She points at a long wooden spatula – the type used for large crowd cooking – rolling beside our feet.
“What’s it for?” I’m baffled.
“For defence broh, or whatever you humans say.”
“And here is a better idea, coming from a superhuman.” I can’t help but laugh.
“Your time is up.” She scowls, the bus coming to a stop. “Best of luck.”
“Thank you, Angel Mercy.”
Despite my jesting, I pick the weapon. Like yesterday, I wait till we reach the empty hallway, and smack the spatula on his head. Black Polo fell with a loud yelp. I grip his collar and punch his stomach.
“Why are you stalking me?”
He doesn’t reply. I give him another punch and repeat the question. After several threats and blows, for which I am deeply sorry, he opens up.
“Alright, I’ll tell you,” he coughs out blood. “I was sent by Big D to find out whether you were able to secure the merger agreement.”
“Who is Big D?”
“I don’t know.” The big guy let out a sob when I hit his face. “Nobody knows who Big D really is.”
Above us, my colleagues gather, demanding an explanation. I ignore them. Black Polo has the cue to my liberation; I won’t leave him till I get it.
“You lie, tell me where he is or I’ll skin you alive. I’ll… I’ll send you to prison where you will rot.”
“By my mother’s grave, I don’t know. I didn’t even see his face when he gave me this assignment.”
“Where did you meet with him, then?”
“At Mami Joint, Tudun Wada.”
Satisfied with the information, I release him. Trust an amateur to add a thank you. I give my colleagues a brief explanation and bolt out of the building.
I’m glad you love it. Thank you