Switch it off and remove the battery now!”
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Abubakar was about to cancel the call when he heard this sharp order from the other end. He initially thought Tobi was speaking to him. The tension in the voice was unmistakable. It appeared as if Tobi was under attack. The thought had not yet been laid to rest when he heard the sound of gunshots and the shattering of glasses. He could also hear the voice of another person; it was a woman’s voice…she was screaming. The lady was screaming while Tobi was barking orders. They were under fire.
His adversary was in danger in Lagos. Abubakar wished he could fly down to Lagos immediately. He wanted to kill those people shooting at Tobi. Why the hell would they try to kill his personal archenemy? He would wipe them out if he could. Tobi’s life didn’t belong to them. His life belonged to him, Abubakar. The bastard had killed his brother. He must honour his brother’s memory by being the one who would put an end to his life, not some random killers.
He was so angry at his helplessness that he kicked the tyre of his car. He was already back in his compound now. He stepped into the house fuming in anger. He needed to beat something to a pulp. He thought about going back to that club and beating just any random guy senseless, maybe a rude bouncer. If he didn’t find something to expel this energy, there was no guessing what havoc he would wreak next. The anger building within him would only grow and expand until he burst in a magma of destruction. Abubakar was a dangerous killer with anger issues.
The call was suddenly disconnected. One of three things must have occurred; it’s either Tobi managed to cancel the call or the killers had got to them, killed them both and cancelled the call…or a bullet had shattered the phone as it did the glass he heard moments earlier. He tried to call back the line but it wasn’t reachable. He was royally frustrated by this. He threw the phone on the sofa in the large living room.
Then an idea lit up in his head. He picked up the phone again and dialled Don’s number. It took a while before the recipient picked up.
“Hello Abu,” Don said.
“Did you send anyone after Tobi?”
“No,” replied he, “I’m going after him myself. I heard he went off with one TV presenter. I’m driving now. Some Fans are also after him. They must have got to him before me.”
“How did you know all this? Since when have you cared about the Fans?”
“Since your brother was killed. I have your brother’s phone with me. He was a Fan, so he still receives updates on his phone. I just got an alert that the bearer of the Red Paper is on the Third Mainland Bridge, whatever the Red Paper means. I guess that is what my friend was killed over. I warned him against becoming a Fan but he didn’t listen. Anyway, I’m on my way to TMB now. Every Fan in that vicinity will be after him. Don’t worry, he’s going to be killed tonight. You just relax, your brother’s death will be avenged, either by me or by the Fans.”
“To hell with the Fans,” Abubakar burst out, “Tobi is under attack now. How soon can you get to the TMB?”
“I’m about five minutes away; I just got out of traffic.”
“Make it a minute. Drive like a bat out of hell and kill those fucking Fans. Tobi must not die. Did you hear me? Tobi must not die.”
“What? Why?” Don was flummoxed. He didn’t understand what was going on. “That son of a gun killed your brother but you don’t want him to die? What’s going on with you?”
“I want to kill him myself,” Abubakar replied, “Be smart, kill the Fans stealthily. Don’t be conspicuous. Tobi must not see you. He’s a professional killer like you. Make sure he doesn’t spot you.”
“You think I can’t take him? You think he’s more experienced than I am?”
“That’s not what I mean. I want you to trail behind him and watch where he’s going to pass the night. I’ll land in Lagos tomorrow morning.”
“Lagos is about to get hotter,” said Don.
“And Don,” Abubakar called.
“Don’t try to take on Tobi,” he warned, “He’ll kill you in an instant.”
“You’re right. Tobi is far more experienced than you.”
He suddenly pressed the brakes and turned the steering wheel sharply. The car turned stubbornly, two wheels in the air for a few seconds before the tyres landed on the hard road of the bridge. Now, the car was facing the vehicle that was chasing behind. Tobi had driven faster as soon as the first bullet hit the side mirror. He had driven forward for about thirty seconds so that other innocent motorists might find their ways away from the bridge at this time. The killers were after him, there was no reason allowing innocent people get caught up in this chaos. Tobi lifted his foot from the brakes, shifted the gear to Reverse and pressed hard on the accelerator. He was driving backward now. He was driving very fast.
“Bend down!” He told Irele. He didn’t wait for her to obey him before he pushed her head down. If her head had remained there a second later, it would have housed a bullet. The bullet meant for Irele’s head had grazed Tobi’s forehead, embedded itself in the upholstery of the passenger’s seat, escaped through the back and created another hole in the back screen. The graze burnt Tobi like hot iron; it hurt like hell, but this was not the time to dwell on such insignificant wound.
The headlights of the vehicle shone on the faces of the killers in the other car as the lights of theirs shone on him too. Tobi could see that the killers were at least four heavily armed men; even the driver was holding a Colt and shooting sporadically as he drove.
Tobi was torn between two split decisions. He thought about shooting the driver. If the driver was dead, there was a possibility that the others would die too because the car would be driverless and might swerve off the road into the lagoon below, drowning them all. However, another one of them might grab the wheel before any fatality and the attack would continue. Or, rather than the car tumbling off the bridge, it might tumble towards them, crushing him and Irele under the weight of bent steel.
Another bullet flew past his left ear and made another hole with spiderweb cracks on the back screen. He knew he had to retaliate fast or he would be killed. He shot through the assaulted windscreen at one headlight of the enemies’s car, then the other. Now the attackers were blind, they could hardly see him anymore, but Tobi could still see them clearly because his own headlights were still intact.
He took a careful aim and shot the killer beside the driver. It was a perfect shot. The bullet caught the attacker in the throat, jerking his head backward. From the glare of the light, Tobi could see how the throat was shattered, exposing the damaged windpipe. The unfortunate guy gurgled his own blood for a few seconds before he laid still in his seat.
Then from behind the dead guy, another killer shot blindly, expelling all the bullets in his chamber. All he was able to do was hit the front tyres. Blinded by the glare from Tobi’s headlights, the killer behind the wheel stopped driving and the others came out. Tobi, too, stopped his car because the tyres were damaged. He opened the passenger’s door and quickly guided the towelled Irele out of the car. They were about fifty metres away from their attackers. He kept the door open as a shield against the flying bullets.
He shot three bullets successively as he made his own exit too through the passenger’s door. At least one of the three expended bullets hit a mark because he heard a scream escape from one of them. He was sure the shot wasn’t fatal though. The scream was not one of impending death, but perhaps of the loss of a limb. He bent Irele’s head again and they both scuttled to the back of the car. He could see only two of the attackers now. He knew one of them was definitely dead but wasn’t sure about the others. The two men were walking towards their car.
He turned to Irele, gave her the laminated paper and said, “Take the document and run as fast as your pretty legs can carry you, I’ll hold them off.”
“This isn’t the time or place to flirt,” Irele replied as she ran down the dark road of the Third Mainland Bridge.
Now that the woman was safely away from the danger of gunshots, Tobi was fully ready for these silly amateurs. He dipped his hand into the pocket at the side of his left knee and extracted a new set of bullets which he fed into the gun. He reached behind his belt and brought out another loaded pistol. Armed with two guns, he suddenly stepped out of his hiding with confidence and riddled the men with bullets. The guns sang with joy and the men danced to their deaths.
After this, Tobi carefully checked his surroundings. There was one other guy lying against the culvert. His shoulder had been hit but what killed him was a shot to the head. In the car were two other dead guys, one in the front seat, the other in the back. The killers were all dead.
Tobi sighed and walked away. He would have to join Irele, find another car and drive far away from here. He knew more would be coming. What he didn’t know was that he had killed only three out of the five attackers, the other two had been killed by someone else.
As Tobi walked away, he was totally oblivious of the gentleman who silently stepped from behind the car and aimed a pistol at the back of his head.
All it required was just a squeeze of the trigger and everything would be over. This is the sonofabitch that killed my friend, Don thought. If not because Abu had told him that Tobi must live, the bastard would have been dead by now. Abu had been wrong all along, he could easily kill the formidable and more experienced Tobi, all was in the squeeze of a trigger.
Don shook his head and lowered his aim. He had to do as instructed. He trekked back to where he parked his car and slowly followed the target.