Ismaila Arigbabuwo was lounging in his Obudu hills resort. A lover of the obscure, He was a man who
favoured building his lairs in inaccessible areas. He watched as the leaves rustled and yielded to the cool
A nature enthusiastand it’s awesomeness, Ismaila had fallen in love with mountains when he was twelve.
He went for an excursion to Olumo rock, and his life had changed afterwards. At first, he had been
scared to join the other children in climbing the rock. He was afraid that the rock would move and crush
them all. It was Cynthia his boyhood crush that made him stand and climb when he saw Titi whispering
in her ear.
Jealousy, he mused as a grin spread across his face. It was what had propelled him to climb the mountain, by the time he got to his classmates, he had forged another affair, one that would replace Cynthia and all her ilk forever. He fell in love with the stone. Still, out of duty, he pushed Titi, then punched the hapless boy. Titi knew not to argue or fight back, he left silently.
On their way back to Lagos, he kept asking his teachers when they would be going back to see the
rock. They promised the next year, but that didn’t happen. They never really went back to the rock
but other equally breathtaking places. Ismaila however missed the rock and went back. The following
year and years after that. Matter of fact, he traveled to countries, to climb their mountains; behold the
immovable majesty of it’s architecture.
And there he sat, in his own house, in the belly of a rock, where no one in their right senses would dare search for him. It was from there, he ruled over the country and watched as the authorities squirmed and jumped at his
instance. He held such power at his fingertips and he was not prepared to let go. The grin widened.
His reverie was disrupted by the buzz of the phone beside him. He cursed as he reached for the phone, if
those fools dared call him based on a trivance…
‘Yes?’ He barked.
‘The senator is here sir.’ The voice reported.
‘Good, I’ll be down with you soon.’ He placed the phone back on its cradle and waited another five
minutes, the senator could wait. Finally he stood up and went inside, time to go milk the nation again he
thought, she was his favored bitch.
‘Senator!’ He smiled amiably as he stepped into the cozy living room. His hands stretched inviting an
embrace from the man who was depleting his wine collection.
They hugged like friends who hadn’t seen themselves in years. Finally, they disengaged and he offered a
seat to the senator.
‘What brings you out here sir?’
The senator shrugged, took a long drink from his cup. He was nervous, had been since his driver had
warned he would be blindfolded as no one was supposed to know the way into the lair. He had hoped
for a house, inside, he found that the crime lord had built himself an hideout inside the rock. He was
somewhat unsettled by the calmness of the people around him. He took another drink from the cup.
‘Well…’ Ismaila asked. He was becoming impatient with the man seated across from him, and if it hadn’t
been that the man represented good business, he would have ended the senator’s life. Still, he had to
show the senator that he was not to be kept waiting. He nodded assent to himself.
The senator spoke eventually. He was sufficiently drugged up with alcohol, yet, his words were lucid,
more like he had been practicing the speech for long.
‘You have to pull off your hounds for a bit, the committee feels it is the best thing to do right now so as
to reduce the heat we’re currently subjected to. Call them back.’
Ismaila regarded the man, a smile danced on lips, yet his expression remained unchanged. He would
have ascribed the man’s effrontery to his drunkenness, but he knew the man spoke for a group of
senators who had gotten scared. Heat he said, Ismaila was mildly amused.
‘I can’t call them back, they have a mandate to hunt down the agent of fire and end him. He has caused
me a lot of grief and the only agent I have that saw him and lived is no longer stable. As such, we
cannot trust his decription.’
He leaned close to the senator, ‘give me that guy, and I’ll pull off my boys. Until then, they will keep
terminating everyone of those damned agents they find.’ His face was hard.
The senator’s eyes became lucid for a fleeting moment. If the man failed to listen to reason, then he
knew they were doomed.
It had been four days since the killings started and close to fifty agents had been terminated. He realised that if he failed to convince Ismaila to desist from the dangerous bent he had embarked on, then, sooner than later, they would all be exposed. The deal was to instate their man as security chief of the federation and empower the man to be more powerful than the president himself. If Ismaila continued though…
Ismaila watched the man’s face with rapt attention. The myth of the agent of fire had rattled the
senator so bad, the man was shivering in his lair. He became angry. How could one man hold them all to
ransome so? He made up his mind, that agent had to die, if it was the last thing he achieved.
He stood up, paced his floor, seething with rage. ‘So you mean you’re this scared of one man? Think
what my own agents can do to you and shudder. That man is dead!’ He dared the senator to argue with
The man observed the crime lord, felt pity as he saw for the first time, the lunacy of the lord that was
Ismaila. Another meet would have to be called, the objective restated. He hoped they would be able
to sway the Ismaila and his goons back to their cause. Sadly, he knew that was a daunting task, almost
impossible. He emptied his glass and stood.
‘I have to go now. The committee will be in touch. I have communicated what they asked me to. It is left
to you to comply, or do as you deem fit.’ He started walking away.
Ismaila watched him go. Another day, another time. He realized for the first time that he was hiding
away from the wrath of the agent that the politicians feared. He couldn’t believe the agent was a ghost.
There was no record of him found and the file they had stolen had nothing on him. He rubbed his chin
thoughtfully, they would cross paths he was sure. What he didn’t know was who would survive; he
banished the thought from his head and started walked away…
Efe Charles was a cautious man. To say that he had become paranoid would not have been wrong. He
had heard of the killings, grieved at the death of two of his friends and colleagues, still, he continued
working. Caution had become his watchword.
He heard of Chinedu’s death and wept. They had been childhood friends and someone with a long
rifle, a specialised scope had ended the life of a top agent with just one pull of the trigger. Shame, the
perps decided to kill in such cowardly way. He was sure there would be at least two corpses, had they
confronted Chinedu head on.
He stirred his drink, stared into the glass he was holding; he had lost the desire to drink after his first sip.
All he had done afterwards was to observe the people in the bar. He knew, that if the perps were close,
they wouldn’t show up in the bar. The killed from a distance, cowards.
He dropped his glass, staggered as he made to stand, then steadied himself against his chair. He
straightened his shirt and sauntered to the gents.
A man sitting in the dark corner of the bar was excited by his antics, the man produced a phone, dialed
and spoke rapidly into it, then clicked the line shut, putting away the phone.
Charles smiled. So they were already on his tail he thought as he continued his charade. He went into
the gents and waited. Time to see what the call would produce he thought. He didn’t have to wait long.
He was washing his face at the basin, his back to the door when he spied two men walk into the
convenience room. One was skinny and tall, the other was under average height but well built. He had
no compunctions about the fact that they would kill him in a heartbeat. He bent his head, splashed
more water on his face and pretended like he didn’t notice them. Time to draw in his killers.
They advanced on him, the skinny one keeping the rear. Charles staggered back and fell on his arse, it
was his saving grace.
The lead perp had produced a fixed blade combat knife and slashed through the air where Charles’ ribcage had
been seconds earlier, the second one also had a knife in his hand. They didn’t want to shoot and create a
ruckus in the bar, good, he thought.
He acted quickly, grabbed the knife from the surprised perp as he used it to slash the man vertically
from his gut. Before the second man could react, the knife in Charles’ hand was already airborne; on its
way to his throat. He didn’t have a prayer.
Charles stifled the cries of the short man, he looked into the man’s eyes and asked, ‘there’s a sniper
waiting out there for me?’
The incredulous look on the man’s face changed to that of contempt as he struggled to breath his last.
He stared back at his killer and smiled.
Charles released his grip on the man’s throat and waited to hear what he would say.
The man coughed, mostly blood. Then he struggled to speak, ‘you will die tonight vermin.’ He died as
soon as the words left his mouth.
Charles did a cursory check on both men, he found nothing. He knew he had lost his edge and element
of surprise. Once he emerged from the toilet, their handler would be on the phone to notify the sniper.
He had to move fast.
He walked out of the toilet and stood face to face with a man who was holding a 9mm beretta
automatic pistol by his side. They froze for a second, both surprised.
Charles reacted a fraction of a second faster as he ducked away from the man. He wasn’t fast enough,
the beretta coughed releasing a loud cacophony. Charles struggled to produce his AGW Custom Commander pistol that was worn on his ankle. His side hurt.
The man readjusted his sight. He had gone to hurry his colleagues up because Odalo, their sniper
wanted a situation report. He hadn’t figured that the agent would have a little fight in him and take
out two men. He fired the gun again, rapidly this time as Charles scurried into the opposite room – the
He was hit. First one in the rib, the second brushing against his triceps. The man wasn’t much of a shot,
or he would be dead already. He had his gun in his hand now, waiting for his assailant.
Ladies in the toilet shrieked when the first gun shot rang. One had been unfortunate to stop a bullet, or
was it bullets, Charles couldn’t say as he watched the woman do a death dance. Pity, he thought, all she
wanted was a good time at the club and maybe dance too. She wouldn’t have known she would dance
her last that night.
He focused on the door, counted to three, took off his shoe and smashed it on the toilet floor. Another
shot rang out, it was all he needed.
He fired two quick shots and waited. All he heard was heavy breathing. He poked his head and saw the
man propped against the wall. His gun was on the floor, he had a sad look on his face.
Charles did not bother with interrogation, he had to get out of the place, fast. He fired his gun once as
he went by the man, a fountain of red appeared on the man’s forehead. His head slumped, his tongue
shot out his mouth as his body struggled against gravity to stay upright.
The bar was already deserted when he got there. This would be tricky he thought as he cautiously
approached the glasses that barricaded the bar. He took care to stand behind walls, no need to throw
his life away now. He zig zagged, the space, running for the door.
A vase exploded behind him, another furnishing gave a croak as it stopped a bullet, the sniper was a
little behind in target acquisition, Charles dove out the door and rolled. He stopped beside a car as the
ground behind him erupted and the car roof exploded.
He had to move he thought. The rifle was probably a M107 and the sniper was royally pissed. He
waited a while, nothing. A minute went by, two, still no more shots. He raised his hand, nothing, he was
about standing when he heard it.
The police siren was blasting from all quarters. Men of the mobile police force were converging on the
place as their vans got closer. Charles exulted, he had been saved by the bell.
Odalo had heard the report on his radio, he also heard the police dispatcher giving an all points order.
His target didn’t know, yet the agent was an insufferable bastard that wouldn’t die. He packed his
equipment. Another day he told himself, another day. He hid his box on the rooftop and took the stairs,
whistling as he entered the streets of Jos and lost himself in the sea of onlookers.