Tunde and Charles dragged Ibrahim to a safe distance from the laboratory. Charles still had a surprised look on his face, he couldn’t believe that he had actually seen Tunde take out the monstrous looking guard.
‘Why don’t you watch out for intrusions,’ Tunde suggested. ‘I just need a minute with him.’
Charles started to protest, but there was a calmness about Tunde that told him, he was not going to win the argument if he got into one. ‘How can you trust those guys to destroy the lab?’ He said instead.
‘I don’t. I however need to get information from this man, I reckon he had precious little time left.’ He slapped Ibrahim vigorously.
The guard roused and tried to rise. He struggled with Tunde who held him down for several seconds. Finally, he decided shouting was the way to go. He opened his mouth wide, surprisingly, the scream failed to pass through his lips.
Tunde watched as Ibrahim struggled to get free. He noticed that Ibrahim yielded voluntarily and before he could understand what he was doing, he had hit the supine man hard on his neck. He realised seconds later why. Ibrahim tried screaming to no avail.
Charles watched the men. ‘You need help?’
‘Yes, go keep watch.’ Tunde didn’t look away from Ibrahim who was massaging his neck now: a malicious look was on his face.
‘You are vermin, you know?’ Ibrahim finally found his voice. ‘Biting the hand that will feed you.’ He spat in Tunde’s face.
Tunde didn’t bother wiping his face. ‘I’ll assume you will be resorting to such pettiness again in our discussion, so here goes, I need information about how to get to Ismaila without hurting your men in the house. I’m sure you know how to bye-pass security. Give me a map and you can walk out of this a new man.’
Ibrahim sneered. ‘Do I look stupid to you? I’m dying here,’ he coughed. ‘You broke my ribs, piercing internal organs. I have limited time; all you need do is leave me here. Death will find me soon. So, don’t offer me life. You’ve already presented death.’
Tunde shrugged. He cleaned his face, ‘think about your men. You can still save them. Give me Ismaila.’
‘Too late. The boss is already out of the area. He left after his chat with you.’
Tunde thought for a while. He hadn’t heard any car engine start or move out the hill. Ibrahim was stalling. He stood up, tore a part of his shirt and gagged Ibrahim’s mouth. ‘I don’t want you screaming your head off.’ He explained. He turned around and was shocked by what he saw.
Femi was approaching him cautiously with Charles as his body shield. He had his pistol pressed against the agent’s temple. Tunde knew that any twitch of his hand would result in Charles’ death. ‘I posted you on sentry duty and you got caught?’ He was angry.
Charles rolled his eyes. ‘I got blindsided.’
‘Yea, well, we’re in soup ’cause of your negligence.’ Tunde started walking.
‘Uh huh.’ Femi shook his head, and pressed the gun harder on Charles temple. ‘One more step…’ He didn’t have to say more.
Ibrahim laughed, his whole body jerked and he coughed out more blood. His visage was a mess. Tunde shook his head as he beheld his handiwork. ‘I’m sorry,’ he whispered.
A twig broke behind Femi, and he made an instinctive mistake, he looked back. It was all the opening Charles needed. He pushed Femi’s hand up and ducked away from him.
The gun in Femi’s hand went off. He tried realigning his target to shoot Charles who was busy rolling away. He felt something push him back. He tried raising the gun, the force pushed him again. He looked down at his body and saw two red splotches across his chest. He touched the blood, smiled and looked up at Tunde who was pulling the trigger. He spread out his hands and closed his eyes, his head tilted back.
Tunde had seen Femi’s mistake, watched as Charles broke free and reacted on cue. The only reason Femi dared look back was because he felt the agent was not armed. Tunde fired the first shot at Femi’s right shoulder. Then he fired again when he saw Femi move. Femi did the unthinkable and spread out for a final shot. Tunde’s earlier shots had been to maim. He didn’t reject the offer, he raised the gun and pulled the trigger the third time.
Femi fell backwards as his head exploded. Charles rose slowly wondering in amazement the viciousness of a man he had always thought was an auditor. Jide came into view then. ‘It’s all set up boss. Time to go, our cover’s blown.’
‘Boss?’ Charles was flummoxed.
‘I’ll tell you later, now, we have to move.’ He started walking into the brushes and the two other men followed him. Ibrahim watched them go and shook his head. Three men did not stand a chance against the rock, he thought. His eyes closed, he felt sleepy, he allowed himself relax.
Captain O’Brien returned from his recon mission to see meet the men waiting patiently. He observed the snipers lying still, monitoring the movement of the guards in their scopes. Zach and Aloba sat relaxing against tree trunks.
‘I don’t see many men outside; it’s inside the rock that’s tricky. Can’t seem to see into the darkness. It’s a narrow path.’ He reported.
Aloba nodded. ‘Same report we have here. So why are we still sitting our arses down tarrying when we should be charging into the building?’
Zach nodded his assent. He picked up a twig from the ground and started drawing in the sand. The snipers stayed the same, their scopes trained on the moving guards.
‘I reckon we can charge the hill now. Whenever you’re ready.’ O’Brien addressed Aloba.
The Lieutenant rose unsteadily, patted his backside and peered through his binoculars at the distant men. ‘Lock them in boys,’ he was about to give the order when they heard it.
A gunshot exploded somewhere in the woods. Then it rang the second time, and then a third. Captain O’Brien and Lieutenant Aloba realised the urgency of their situation. ‘Now!’ Both officers thundered simultaneously.
The snipers pulled their triggers calmly, Zach jumped up, and he wanted to see if they would hit their marks. Lieutenant Aloba lifted his binoculars to view the guards.
Captain O’Brien did not bother with the details and finesse. He was already out of the woods running towards the rock. The snipers fired their guns a couple more times and took off after the Captain.
Sergeant Zach reluctantly gave chase after the men and Lieutenant Aloba brought up the rear. They covered the distance between the woods and the rock in no time. Captain O’Brien’s gun was in his hands, he leaned against the rock as he peered up the stairs.
The two snipers joined him, the first moving up the first flight of stairs whilst the other covered him. Their starlight scopes had been set to night vision and they could see every marking in the rock.
Stealthily, but steadily they progress until they got to the first floor. Without speaking, the snipers dispersed in opposite directions. Sergeant Zach climbed further into the rock going to the second floor.
Captain O’Brien was amazed, the rock reeked of opulence. Too bad when they were done, the entire place would be nothing to write about. He fixed a silencer to his gun and moved forward following the sniper that took his right. Lieutenant Aloba went left.
They converged back minutes later, having scoured through the floor and found no one. They headed for the stairs. The men of the Lieutenant leading the way and bringing up the rear. Both army officers were boxed in by their subordinates.
They carried out the same routine there, still no one. They found an arsenal instead. It had all sorts of weaponry that made the snipers green with jealousy. They helped themselves to choice rifles and proceeded in their search.
They moved five levels up the rock interior before encountering the first person. He was dead, he tongue hanging from his mouth, a grotesque gash on his neck. Zach! O’Brien thought and they moved on. They didn’t bargain for what happened next.
As they moved further into the rock, a hail of gunfire was release and they all ducked away. The lead soldier wasn’t so fortunate; he had stopped pellets with his body, his body armour pierced. Blood flowed freely from his body and he struggled to breathe.
Captain O’Brien ducked in time, being the next after the soldier that was cut down, still, the ricochets found him. A hot bullet pierced his right thigh, he gritted his teeth.
The gunman fired another round of bullets into the hallway, this time going for the lower parts. It was a tactical mistake and he realised it too late.
After surviving the first hail of gunshots, the sniper behind the group had crawled away, and waited, his scope trained on the entrance. When he saw the rifle nozzle, he aimed at it and then aimed for the wall. It was all the target practice he needed. He shot of the nozzle of the gun, and before it’s wielder could react, he shot three times into the wall, sending ricochets flying at the gunman.
The gunman let out a cry of pain and the sniper jumped raced towards him. Just before getting to the entrance, he jumped, sliding across the doorway. He released the full content of his rifle’s magazine into the doorway.
Several cries emanated from the room. Lieutenant Aloba was up next. Before the men in the room could recover, he was firing at the still moving men. His gun jammed as his bullet chamber clicked empty. He stood frozen in the doorway.
One of the men he hadn’t shot lifted his gun; he trained it on Lieutenant Aloba. Two shots rang out as one. The army Lieutenant flinched checked to see he was still standing and had no blood marks. Then he looked back. His guard and O’Brien had their guns trained on the dead man.
By the time they went back to the first man, he was dead. Captain O’Brien tore off his shirt to cauterize his thigh. The bleeding had to stop. The three remaining men looked at themselves, consented subliminally and proceeded further into the rock: someone had to pay for the dead comrade.