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Chapter 13

"...Death; The Grim Reaper. We beseech you, wait till it is our time."

What is the worth of a human body after death? If not preserved for scientific purposes, the human body is worth next to zero.

Shhhhh! He's waking up, How hard did you hit him you fool? Can't you see he is bleeding? What if he had died? Why did you ask for chloroform if your dumb ass isn't going to use it. Knock him out again, Ghost hasn't arrived yet. Use the chloroform this time. Do I have to do everything around here? The voice exhaled in disgust.

Nife could hear the voices as they chattered around him, his head hurt so badly. He wasn't blindfolded, but he couldn't see because the light seemed to be too bright, when he heard the order to knock him out again, his mind protested, his brain sluggishly tired to send commands to his feet and hands but to no avail. Is this what paralysis feels like? Some one placed a soaked pad on his nose. He tried holding his breathe so as not to inhale the toxic gas, his lungs screamed in protest. He gave up and took a deep breath, but there was no pain as he had expected. He felt his mind and brain going numb as he slowly slipped into darkness once more.

Sirens are not a common occurrence in a country stricken with poverty. Most police vans or vehicles don't even utilise their sirens. Sirens were usually used by motor convoys. Politicians or people with deep pockets. In their hands, it's a big stick that is used to bully other commuters out of the road. The Siren wailed continuously, it was not a motor convoy this time around, it was a wail of death. One that even the infamous wailing widow in folklores and myth cannot match. Detective Kola was riding shotgun, he had to make sure that the bodies were not tampered with. He was shaken, everybody was shaken but not as shaken he was. They had seen the bodies, but his trained detective eye had seen the gunshot wounds.

Nothing except light travels as fast as bad news, some dwellers that were present upon Kolapo's discovery of the bodies, already wasted no time in carrying the news around town. Before noon half the town would be aware. WhatsApp statuses would be updated, online news platforms would already have a story written down before evening. Detective Kola had lost any form of surprise he might have imagined that he had. Tope Alabi's familiar but sonorous voice cut through his train of thought. He cursed silently, he really needed to change his ringtone, why do the bloody things have to be so loud anyways? He thought, speaking aloud as he referred to his cell phone. He checked the Caller ID, it was the DPO calling. He had called over three times. Apparently, the Ọ̀oni(Traditional Ruler of Ile-Ife) had called the commissioner of police for the state, requesting for a situation report. The DPO was on a hot seat, Detective Kola didn't care much about him, he could steam or burn for all he cared. The only problem at the fore front of his thoughts was how to unravel the mystery of these two bodies. Even though it was evident that they weren't buried at the same time because the level of decomposition was different, the bodies were definitely connected.

"Kazeem switch that thing off" Detective Kola snapped at the driver of the ambulance. His mind went back to brooding, He lamented at the unavailability of the proper tools to fight crime. The absence of a forensic expert for example. He had instructed Job to put a call through to their regional headquarters and request for someone. All the way from Ibadan, meaning that nothing could be done till the next day. On getting back to the police station, He instructed Inspector Jobiowu to supervise the unloading of the bodies into the morgue. He made a beeline for the armoury to check on his ancient, government issued Automatic Kalashnikov 47 more popularly known as the AK-47. The semi automatic rifle had a 30-round capacity magazine and could fire up to 10 rounds per second. The AK-47 has a muzzle velocity of 720m/s and fires 7.62mm ammunition rounds. But the government issued rifles are not brand new. They have passed through many hands before they were sold to the government. These firearms with experience, have proved to be very unreliable in a gunfight. Most of them develop issues like melting firing tube or gets jammed before you're halfway through the second magazine. He brought the AK-47 from where it hung, took up a prone position, raised the rifle to his shoulder and sighted down the barrel, squinting as he did that, he pulled the trigger and heard the resounding click as the firing pin hit on an empty chamber.

The atmosphere was electric, two dead bodies? Mr Bayo; The Chief Security Officer of the University, had people running in and out of his office. Phones were ringing here and there, reporters, professors and everyone with some level of importance were calling to inquire about their own safety. As a former security personnel, he couldn't shake the feeling of dread that had filled his stomach upon hearing the news. His students presumed missing, were probably dead. Who or what could have killed them he didn't know. He looked around his office, he was sitting behind a huge mahogany desk. It was pretty heavy and has been the one thing in that office that doesn't change. Upon assumption of his duties as CSO, he wanted to dispose of it so he could get more walk space in the office. But, his PA advised against it and launched into a history lecture that he wasn't interested in at that time. He looked at the pictures of his family and Police Squad members that had been deftly hanged on the walls of his office. They constituted a reminder of mistakes he had made. A failed marriage, Loss of lives. All of that were on his conscience. He wasn't going to let that happen again. His fears weren't allayed as he had thought, in fact they had been poking a finger in his face all along. He reached for a small key on the desk and unlocked the cabinet that sat on his right hand side just within arm's reach. He pulled out his personal firearm, a Glock-19 gifted to him by an army general when he saved the latter's daughters from kidnappers. He inserted the magazine, chambered a round and switched the safety on before putting it in the holster placed under his desk. If two kids were dead, trouble wasn't going to be far behind. To be forewarned is to be fore harmed...

Paula swallowed the bile that rose up her throat as she saw Tutu walking towards her. She thought the anger she carried in her mind would have cooled off by now. Butnthat smile, that had given her some of the best memories of her life. Now brought nothing but a feeling of disgust and irritation. Paula was too blind to see that her best friend of many years might have been acting in her interest. All she could feel was rage and the unshakable feeling of betrayal that her friend, would try to take from her, something she cherished.

Tutu, unaware of the knowledge that Paula now had, smiled at her best friend and swaggered towards her. She wasn't prepared for the smack that landed on her right cheek and sent stars sprawling through her vision. She was shocked, unable to check her anger, she couldn't quell her fight response. With her fists folded she delivered a blow to the side of Paula's head. She made sure that the blow carried all the fury that Paula's attacked created. Paula fell to the ground and stayed down, they were drawing stares from people around so she checked her rage and checked on Paula. She was still breathing thank God.

Paula came to as Tutu checked for her pulse. She didn't mean slap Tutu like that but she had let her emotions get the better of her. She hadn't expected the return blow Tutu had given her though. But maybe it was for the best all the anger was gone now. "Heyy girl wake up, what was that for? Are you okay?" Tutu fussed over her. Classic Tutu, still asking if she was okay even when Paula had drawn first blood. "Why did you text Nife with my phone?" Paula bit right down to the bone. "I see, so you guys are back together now? Get up, we have to get out of here. People are staring" Tutu replied absent mindedly.

"...heyy guys that was Betty Butter by Mayorkun and the DMW boss Davido. We have come to the end of the show today, join us next week on the hitlist where we bring you the hottest jams in town..." The voice on the TV announced. Skodo picked the TV remote to flick through the channels, his heart skipped a beat as he stumbled upon the local news channel. Breaking News!! "Mini graveyard uncovered on local farmland" it read.

Skodo had spent the last month in a battle with the fear of his sins coming to light and it seems his fears had finally won the war. Maybe it could still be salvaged. He decided it would be a good idea to call the boys, brief them about the situation on ground and ensure that they were still on his side. The boys had avoided each other and kept to themselves as much as possible after the trip with Egbon. Their experiences of that night left unsaid, the chemistry between them was ruined. The squad had ceased to exist. He got through to Nonso and Tope, they hadn't heard but they were standing by him no matter what.

The relationship between Skodo and Nife had been rough from start. The chemistry wasn't really there at first. With events of the past few months, their relationship had taken a bow. There was no form of communication between the duo. Nife had blamed Skodo for their travails, pointing out that if Skodo hadn't killed anyone, they wouldn't be in their present situation. Skodo on the other hand believed that Nife thinks he's better than everyone because he's smarter and they looked up to him for logical solutions to problems. He saw him as one that wasn't made for the streets. There was too much reasoning in that head and too much compassion behind those eyes. Nife was good for the team, in fact he was a vital part of the squad. But he wasn't meant for the streets. Skodo decided to call him last, one cannot be too sure he thought. He dialed Nife's number it rang twice, on the third ring his call was declined. He took a deep breath as he fought the urge to shed tears. This is the end he thought, I'm done for. Skodo had never jumped to a conclusion so fast before in his entire life, maybe his fear and lack of trust made him do it. He made up his mind. Nife was going to betray them but, if they got to him first, he wouldn't get the chance to... He had to be proactive, it was the only way.

With shivering hands, he picked up his phone again and dialed. "Egbon mih, I think we have a problem. Nife is snitching on us".

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