’I am tired of this,’ Sam bemoaned. ‘We have been here since yesterday evening. Nothing is going down here. I thought I had passed the patrol level. Boss should have told me before he demoted me.’
Musa was also tired but it would not do to whine with Sam. Doing so would only encourage Sam to complain even more. Musa focused his attention on the house again, ignoring the man beside him.
He hoped that something would be here because he was officially tired of this case. The stress he was under should be illegal.
He was still thinking when he saw three children run out of the Nigerian senator’s house. He wanted to go and see what was up, but decided to give it time, assuming they probably saw a rat. These rich people could be very funny sometimes. Little things scared them a lot.
‘I think something is going on in that house,’ Musa voiced Sam’s thoughts. ‘Did you see the children run out from it?’
‘Yes, I noticed it,’ Sam replied. ‘I cannot see the senator or his wife.’
‘Do you think we should go closer?’
Sam nodded, stating firmly, ‘I think it’s about time something happened there.’
Just then they saw the house shaking. They dashed forward. The blocks in the building were breaking apart. The children were outside crying. There was nothing they could do, and they knew that their parents were still inside the house.
‘Come on, let us go closer, Sam. I think the house is giving in.’
‘You still think so? I see it, Musa. The fucking house is collapsing right before my eyes!’
They hastened towards the house. Before they could reach it, it was on the ground in a pile of dust.
Sam noted that the noise it made was completely different from the sound heard when a house was bombed down. It was like this house sighed and gave up the ghost. People would definitely think he was crazy if he voiced out his thought, but that was exactly the sound he heard. It was like someone gently reduced the house to nothing without making any noise.
The children were now shouting for their parents. Sam stood gaping. From behind him, Musa hastened with the big evidence bag he was holding and collected as much soil as he could from the place. He was going round to the house to get more when a big rumble in the ground landed him on his butt. Suddenly, he saw the earth move. It literally rolled by him, as though he was a fallen brick. He couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. He saw the earth move! Who would believe such a thing happened? He was so freaked out he thought he was imagining things.
Getting a hold on himself, he jumped to his feet and rushed over to where Sam was standing. ‘Did you see that? Did you see that? That was weird.’
‘Yes, I saw it,’ Sam answered, still looking spellbound. ‘What was that?’
‘I think it is the thing Nancy was talking about. I felt it inside me. It was like it paused, but went on. I swear those things were vines. It was like it was looking for something that I did not have.’
‘Well, it certainly found what it was looking for. Henry and his wife were inside there and they did not make it out.’
MaryJohn stood patiently watching OZed as he studied the soil.
OZed shook his head. ‘I don’t know what to make of this. This thing is giving me a headache. The organisms seem very big and they are fused. You need to give me more time to work on this.’
‘I’d love to give you forever, but we do not have that,’ MaryJohn stressed. ‘I need to know what I am up against. Sam told me that he has never seen anything like that before, and I know that Sam has seen a lot of things.’
OZed scratched his head and wished MaryJohn would go to hell with that cigar of his. He hated cigars. They killed innocent living things. But that was insignificant judging by his recent problem concerning the organism that seemed hard to crack. He cleared his throat. ‘I noticed something not very natural about it, though. The organism seems to be immortal. It does not die. If you cut it, it will grow right back before your eyes. I have never seen such a thing. If I remove it from the soil, it dies instantly and if I put it in heat, it also dies. And it grows rapidly. The last specimen they got has managed to fill the bucket that I enclosed it in. I think this thing is very dangerous.’
MaryJohn did not agree with the scientist, but he had to, because OZed was not the type to spin tales just for the fun of it. ‘So what you are saying in earnest is that if it comes to a fight to the death with this thing, what we need is heat and no soil, not guns or bombs? I wonder how we are going to make that work.’
‘I was actually wondering about two things; whether to use that warehouse that is no longer in use at the headquarter for some experiments, and when I will draw a clean breath in my office. What do you say about that?’
‘I am sorry,’ MaryJohn said with a smile, stubbing out his cigar. He was finding it hard not to smoke these days. Maybe it was because he was on edge all the time. ‘I forgot that you hate smoke.’
‘May I give you advice?’
MaryJohn wanted to tell him where to put his advice, but he did not want to piss the man off. He was deeply needed him for this operation. ‘I am open-minded.’
‘I think you should involve the Army or NAVY in this. This thing has passed state level.’
‘I don’t need to invite them. They joined the dance last week after the senator’s house was yanked down. Told them it was high time they came out of their fancy offices to see half of what we see every year for half of the salary we get paid a month. Least I forget, there is a white scientist that wants to see you. Says he wants to see the organism that has manifested in this country. Fucking white people can’t keep their proper white nose in their proper white shit. He needs your permission. If you don’t like it, don’t give it.’
OZed was laughing so hard his belly hurt. He knew how MaryJohn felt about white men. His first boss was a white man and he never promoted him just because he did not like the combination of his name.
‘I think I will welcome the man,’ OZed admitted. ‘He might be able to help with more sophisticated equipment that I might need. You know, MaryJohn, all white men don’t hate your name. It is actually sexy to some of them if you come to think about it.’ He laughed again when MaryJohn gave him the evil eye.
‘I am going over to Nancy’s house. I think we need that girl for a lot of things,’ MaryJohn informed him.
‘Yeah, I agree with you. But make sure you take it easy with her. Something tells me that she is not an easy person to walk or work with.’
‘Tell me about it.’
MaryJohn tapped his foot on the floor as he waited for Nancy to sit down. ‘Do you want to find your parents?’ Not bothering to wait for her reply, he continued, ‘If you do, I suggest that you help us more with this case. It seems that what you said turned out to be true. We need more of your help.’
‘Why would I want to help you? For all we know, my parents might be dead.’
He arched his brow. ‘But that is not all we know, is it?’
‘No, but I want something in it for me.’ Nancy went and stood beside the TV and watched the uniformed man, to see how far he was willing to take this. She was happy at the idea of working with the police and NAVY, but she wanted a little something in it for herself and her brother and even aunty Mariah. She knew that she did not like her aunty a lot but she did care.
MaryJohn bristled with anger. ‘Listen, kid, I don’t know what is up with you, but I need your help. I can do without it but I’d rather not. If you want a video game and a car, I will see what I can do about it, but I am not promising.’
Nancy looked at him appalled. ‘I am sixteen and I am in the university. I don’t need video a game or a car. What I want is for you to promise that my brother and I will get free education in any school in the world we want and monthly pocket money. If you can’t promise that, then I am not doing shit for you.’
John was taken aback by her request. She did not look like the type that would think very far into the future and she did not even look like she had finished secondary school, what more of being in the university. Hmmm! So she was not as stupid or selfish as they had all thought.
He liked what she asked for and that was why he would try to get it for her. It was not in his power though, but he hoped to run it over the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and that was the president. Surely he would do that one?
‘I am still not promising,’ MaryJohn said stiffly, ‘but I will see what I can do about it.’
‘That’s good enough for me. Come back to me when you are sure and I will lead you to the centre of the earth, where the first vegetation blossomed in Nigeria. Good night.’
She left him then. He could not help it. He smiled. She was a lovely kid like OZed said. She would grow on someone like an arm and they would not even know.