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Chapter 14

Hood Sayings; Snitches get Stitches, You Snooze You Lose.

Have you ever wondered how new age sport cars with massive engines manage to purr like cats when they are required to? Mufflers and Modes.

It was a frigid Monday morning. The CLA 250 was in it's standard Eco mode as FM manoeuvred through the streets of Ile-Ife. He had been laying low since he discovered Egbon was in town. The tinted windows and ordinary plate number on the vehicle gave him all the obscurity he needed. He couldn't lose the element of surprise he had. He switched on the infotainment module built into the dashboard and the radio came on.

Breaking News!!

"Mini graveyard discovered on local farmland".

He hissed and kept tapping the screen, hoping to find another radio station. Some people are just amateurs, he thought. The next radio station he stumbled upon were picking up the same story as their headline of the day. Then it dawned on him. He hit his fist on the steering wheel and stepped on the gas pedal in fury, but the vehicle didn't give him the acceleration he had anticipated. His boys were the amateurs, they were going to get him killed in no time. Not being able to contain his anger, he cursed as he switched driving mode of the vehicle into sport. The vehicle gave a mighty roar and shot forward like a bullet out of a gun. Ghost was dumping his FM facade for the time being, he wasn't going to need it where he was headed. Nife was being held in one of their hide-outs by his boys. It was time to throw the first punch.

Mr Bayo was perched at the observation post located near the school premises. He had watched the Mercedes Benz in disgust as it sped past like an exorcised demon. "If he keeps pushing her like that, she will crash and burn" He muttered, and watched the hazard lights blink at the hard braking and acceleration the vehicle was undergoing.

Snitches get Stitches right? Well someone was definitely not going to need stitches because, he will simply be dead. Egbon had driven all night to get back to Ile-Ife after he got Skodo's call. He knew someone was going slip up. He had been prepared to plug the leak. He had traveled under the cover of darkness to avoid being seen by the authorities or any other party. He had also discarded the idea of sleeping in an hotel as he usually did, so as to avoid records of his presence in Ile-Ife at that time. Experience had taught him that he couldn't be directly tied to a crime if he wasn't present at the scene of the crime. Before leaving Lagos, he had arranged for alibis; Clubhouse owners and other credible people that would testify about his whereabouts in court if need be. Egbon so far, had never been tied to any of his crimes and he wasn't about to make any sort of mistake now. He called Skodo's attention to the present matter.

"Lanre, we have to make it look like an accident to reduce suspicion and also, you're coming with me, it's time for you to behave like the man you are growing into. I won't be cleaning up your messes for ever". Egbon said.

Skodo piped up "I think we should utilise this opportunity to the maximum."

"What do you mean?" Egbon asked.

"Why don't we pin Ahmed's death on Nife after we are done killing him" Skodo replied.

Egbon smiled and asked "Do you still have the Berretta?".

Then they sat down to plan the murder.

The plan was to remove the plate number on Skodo's Camry SE to delay identification by the Police, Wait for Nife some where around his apartment, watch the apartment till he heads out, then knock him down with the car when they get the chance. After ensuring that he is dead, they will plant the murder weapon; The Berretta on his person, drive away from the scene of the crime, put the plate number back on the vehicle. Drive it to a remote location, dust it for prints, and then Skodo goes to the police station to report it as stolen. Then Egbon would be back in Lagos before dawn.

The plan was fool proof. Nife was going to be six feet under before he could say Jack Robinson. If only they knew he had been protecting their identities all this while and wasn't in cahoots with the police as they had concluded.

Valar Morghulis; Valar Dohaeris (All men must die; All men must serve)

The pain was everywhere, His head head hurt, even breathing felt like a thousand needles stabbing his lungs. His throat was parched, his lips dry and cracked. He retched but nothing came out, he couldn't figure out how long he had been held up. He had been taken on Sunday, it felt like he had been out cold for weeks but, he couldn't tell the date or time so he couldn't be sure. His G-Shock wrist watch had been retrieved from his wrist at one point. He was lying down on the cold concrete floor, catching his breath and trying to get back his sense of bearing. If he guessed right, since he had failed to deliver on the promise he made to save his own life, Ghost had sent his goons to come collect what he owed; His life. The tears wouldn't come, he wasn't mama's only boy anymore. He was a dead man, Ghost had made that very clear. But, what if he could get out and escape? Maybe he could effect a change on his predicament. He thought of Paula, she was definitely going to miss him. But, with the knowledge she had now, she knew enough to know that he would be dead if he couldn't be found. He just hoped she would stay away from all of this mess. He couldn't bear to see her hurt. Not that he would live to witness it anyway. His fingers were starting to hurt, he was getting the feeling back in them, he tried sitting up but all he could do was flail like a fish thrown out of water. He ganered more effort to putting coordination in his legs and managed to seat on his ass. He doubled over as black spots swam in his vision. His skin was feverish and he was starting to feel the effects of a dull headache. Nife in desperation, gave a tug at the ropes that bound his wrists and by some divine stroke of luck, the bonds broke loose. This new discovery sent adrenaline pumping through his veins, his kind went into overdrive. He switched from resignation to survival mode. He had to get out! With renewed vigour, he tore at the ropes binding his feet, ignoring the stabs of pain in his shoulders. He paused as he heard laughter and voices, they weren't just passing by, they were coming for him! With more frantic efforts now he tugged at the ropes and was eventually able to get free. Luck wasn't done with him yet, he had been bound to a wooden chair when he first came to before being knocked out again, as he looked around for something to arm himself with, his eyes fell on it. Hope sent energy coursing through his body. He was going to die but, if he could get out of this, at least it won't be today.

The voices had stopped. It was whistling now. He could hear the footfalls quite clearly. It seemed the person had ditched his companion and was coming to check on him alone. He put his back to the wall with the chair in his hands, raised and ready to swing at a moment's notice. The whistling stopped, there was silence. Nife's hopes were about to plunge when he heard keys jangling. Once more his heart surged and he kept a firmer grip on the chair.

The door swung open, opening into the room. The visitor, unaware of what waited behind the door frame, stepped in headfirst. Nife swung with all the power in this arms the chair made contact breaking into pieces in the process. The visitor made a squealing sound that would have been funny if not for his current predicament and went down hard and unmoving. Nife grabbed what seemed to the backrest of the chair from the many pieces that were on the floor. Throwing caution to the air, he ran towards the exit.

He had been kept at the rear-end of the house. He ran down the corridor seeing what looked like a sitting room just ahead, freedom! He thought. The door ahead swung open, the occupant, disturbed by the noise Nife had been making, poked his head out to see what the noise was all about. Nife, moving too fast to suddenly stop without being noticed, switched from flight to fight mode. Twirling the piece of wood gripped in is left hand swung with the force and precision of a baseball batter. The dude went down without a sound. Nife stopped and decided to move with caution from here onward. He bent to check if the guy he just took out was armed. He had never used a gun before, but he had seen Skodo handle one very efficiently. It shouldn't be that hard he thought, it would definitely do better than a piece of wood. No gun but, he found a set of keys and a Key fob for a car. He marveled at his luck and made a mental note to take Christianity more seriously if got out this mess alive. He got out of the house, it seemed to be situated in an area he could not recognise. He hoped he was still in Ife. He had no phone on his person to check his location, he raised his eyes to the horizon. The sun was not halfway round the sky yet so it was still morning. He glanced at the vehicles in the compound and pressed the key fob. A fully tinted, blacked out Honda Accord beeped at the far end of the house. He thanked his stars that there was no fence and gate surrounding the house or he would have been toast. He got in, depressed the starter button and said a quick silent prayer that the vehicle was in good condition.

Ghost was almost at the hide-out where Nife was being kept. The house was situated in the Modọmọ area of the city. He was still trying to decide what was to be done with the kid. So far the kid had kept a low profile. But grabbing him had taken no effort at all. His smart phone rang, the number was unknown but he picked anyway. The voice on the other end sounded breathless and panicky

"The boy escaped! He is in Pablo's Honda! Pablo and Deziano are injured! Should I call our doctor?"

Ghost slowed down and kept his rage in check.

"Which way did he go?" Ghost asked.

"He's driving towards Mayfair sir" The boy on the other end replied.

"Okay, call the doctor to take care of those boys. I'll take care of the kid" Ghost instructed and ended the call.

He got back on the road and sped up so he could get to the next U-turn before he would sight the Honda. He got to the U-turn, he made the turn and then parked at the side of the highway. Observing and scrutinizing each car that went past.

Nife had utilised every driving skill he possessed. He had driven in the general direction he perceived to be north. He had to drive fast on the untarred road and he ran into one-too-many potholes. After what seemed like endless minutes of aimless driving he exited onto the Ibadan to Ile-Ife express way. He planned to get back to his flat, pack his bag and hotfoot it back to his parents in Lagos. He was driving just under the speed limit so as to avoid being pulled over by the police. Shops and stores situated near the road were open. So he deduced that it was a week day. He was halfway back in to town when the car behind honked at him. He applied more pressure on the gas pedal and sped up looking in the rear view mirror. It was a white Mercedes Benz, like the one Paula's friend FM owned. The car honked at him again and he increased his speed again and the Mercedes fell back. He relaxed and settled back in his seat to concentrate on his driving and look out for the police. The Mercedes blew past honking as it went. Nife slowed down and let it over-take him, The Mercedes kept to the service lane for a while maintaining about 20 meters distance between the two cars. Nife became suspicious and hurriedly put on his seat belt. The Mercedes suddenly swung into the fast lane and braked. Nife braked and swerved into the service lane, the car was going off the road so he hurriedly turned the wheel back into the road and floored the gas pedal. The car fishtailed and Nife controlled the slide into a drift. He gripped the steering wheel as the car shot forward. Every thought flew out of his mind. He had to survive first!

Ghost had seen the Honda while he was parked on the side of the road. He had immediately put his vehicle into gear and followed. He had wanted to run the Honda off the road. But, he didn't want the damage to his vehicle as it would draw attention from the police. So he tried honking the vehicle as if to alert the driver of something but the kid didn't fall for it. He then decided to over-take and block him but he had horribly under estimated the kid's driving skills. The kid had evaded him, making him look like a fool while drifting away in the Honda like Paul Walker from the Fast and Furious movie. Where did he learn to drive like that?

He floored the gas pedal and followed in pursuit, no Honda should be a match for his Benz. If only he knew that the engine under the hood only matters when there is a good driver behind the wheel. He had to give it to the kid, his driving skills were inimitable.

Nife sped towards his flat. He had to survive!

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