The large hand held tightly and twisted violently this way and that until finally, the enamel structure came loose. He placed the pliers on the table, the molar still firmly held in its grip.
“Has your memory cleared yet?” Pipuls asked before taking a swig from his bottle of yogurt. The victim gazed at the group through eyes whose vision was blurred by blinding pain. His heart thumped dangerously as involuntary groans escaped his lungs. In a little under five seconds, his mouth was filled with the iron like taste of blood. Unable to keep his lips together, the liquid coupled with copious amounts of saliva dribbled down and stained his white vest.
“Let me get one more out of him, boss, that will do the trick.” The make shift dentist requested of Pipuls who, with a nod of his head, gave assent. The dentist was quick to pry open the victim’s mouth once again, which was not as hard as the first time, and soon his pliers grabbed hold of another tooth, a pre-molar this time, from the same quadrant as the recently extracted molar, and with brute force, he twisted the tooth out of its socket. The victim let out a loud yell and the tears came pouring out of his eyes. His heart thumped so hard that his left pectoral resonated with its beat.
“I don’t know anytyen, I don’t have anytyen.” The victim screamed. The violation of his mouth made pronouncing the word ‘anything’ a near impossibility.
Pipuls stared at him for a few seconds more then took another swig from his bottle. He tilted the bottle a little too much, and yogurt spilt on his coffee coloured shirt.
“Darn, look what you made me do. My mother gave me this shirt just the day before.” He said and attempted to wipe off the spill with his hand. While he did this, he continued speaking, “I know you saw the chief. I know you came forward to tell the police that you have evidence that will implicate him. What I do not understand though is why you would want to involve yourself, or rather, hurt yourself by going toe to toe with Chief Diepreye. Do you not understand that even the law is beneath him? Do you not realise that he is God on earth? He has eyes everywhere, he is omnipresent, information reaches him in a second, he is omniscient, he has the system in his pocket, he is—”
“Omnipotent,” One of the thugs quipped. “Nice one, boss.” he said. Pipuls gave him a cold stare and hissed, then returned his attention and gaze on the victim who sat tied hands and feet to a dining chair.
The victim’s head stayed low, sobbing, drooling. The room was beginning to swim, hypoxia was beginning to set in. Pipuls’ words were fast becoming an echo.
“…the evidence. Where is…”
The victim lifted his head and strained to see the group in front of him. He could barely make out Pipuls’ moving lips. It seemed he was asking for a tape and some pictures. Of course he knew what they were asking for, the issue was he did not have them, at least he did not have the tapes any more, and he never made any pictures.
How had he gotten himself into this mess? He was never one to go looking for trouble, as a matter of fact, he abhorred trouble, yet deathly trouble came looking for him, and had found him.
He had been on duty that night and as was entailed his job description, he had manned the surveillance monitors, and through them he had seen everything that happened at the back of the events centre on the night of the Merit Awards.
At a few minutes past nine in the night, whilst the awards was reaching a crescendo, and the award of the most prestigious individual for the year was drawing close, six figures had stalked through the lonely corridors leading to the parking lot out back, with them was a petite figure, a female figure. The area was not satisfactorily lit, and the camera’s resolution was not the best, but he could make out the man at the head of the group who dragged the lithe figure by the hair to be Chief Diepreye Dagogo Watson.
The Chief had dragged her until he reached a large black vehicle where he proceeded to lift her by her arms and with a powerful push, slammed her against the trunk of the vehicle. Derek was shocked by the violent act, but stayed a while longer to see what would happen before raising an alarm. The Chief lifted the figure from the ground, dropped her roughly on the trunk, dealt her two heavy slaps on her face, then tore her blouse to shreds. Derek was shocked, the horrific scene that played before him left him catatonic. The Chief then yanked her undies off, and in her struggle, Derek noticed something; her chest was flat, save for two lumps that had just started to appear. He was horrified. In a few seconds, Chief Diepreye Dagogo Watson, nominee for the most prestigious individual of the year award began defiling a 12 year old child.
Derek reached for his walkie-talkie and shouted into it.
“Help!” He yelled, damning protocol and forgetting everything about code language, “Someone is being raped at the back parking lot, and she is underage, send help immediately. Please!”
Almost immediately, a voice crackled over the walkie-talkie, it was frantic, “What part of the lot? Over.”
Derek looked at the info tab on the bottom corner of the screen and told the guard quickly. He could not take his eyes off the screen as The Chief continued his heinous act.
Soon, he saw a detachment of guards running down the corridor. Soon they burst into the parking lot on the other screen and made their way to where they were told that the crime was being committed. He saw the startled look on the faces of The Chief’s thugs when they heard the guards running towards them, and to his disdain, he saw the guards pull out semi-automatic pistols with suppressors screwed on and duck behind vehicles, laying an ambush for the oncoming guards, yet the Chief stayed at his act.
The guards were just around the corner when the ambush was laid. Derek quickly screamed into his walkie-talkie,
“It’s an ambush, GET BACK!!!”
But he was a little too late, for at least four of the guards had set upon The Chief with their night sticks. The hidden thugs launched at them, guns blazing, dropping every last one of them. One of the guards tried to crawl away, but a bullet shot through the back of his head rendered him limp forever.
Soon The Chief’s epileptic fit showed that he was in the throes of orgasm. As soon as he was done, he collected a semi from one of his thugs and put it to the girl’s head. Derek turned away, biting his hand to keep from throwing up. A few seconds passed when he looked at the screen again and saw a thug place her limp body in the trunk of the car, he also noticed two of the thugs staring directly at him on the camera. One of them mouthed something he was sure was “Someone is watching us.”
Derek sat still, holding his breath, afraid to move lest they actually see him. Then he saw them disappear around the corner, and his survival instincts kicked in. They were coming for him.
Fight or flight?
He remembered their silenced pistols and immediately pressed the eject button of the tape recorder. By instinct, he checked the calendar and time on the clock. 15th October 1998, 9:47pm. He fled his duty post and ducked around a few corners, making sure to go the opposite way from whence the thugs would come, and as much as possible, he avoided being seen by cameras, bending his head so his cap, a necessary part of his security uniform, covered his face. Once he was close enough, he followed the blind spot of the cameras until he was out on the streets of Lagos. He headed home straight away and met his wife and eleven year old daughter watching the awards, and on the screen was the smiling unfazed face of the newest most prestigious citizen of the Federal Republic, the beast, Diepreye Dagogo Watson.
Derek slumped on his bed and slept the sleep of the haunted. The picture of the rape and the brutal murder of his colleagues replayed themselves in his dreams. What crippled him the most was that each victim gazed at him as they were being killed, all begging him for help which he could not give. He awoke startled. Unable to sleep any longer, he checked the time, it was a few minutes past two in the morning. He tiptoed into the living room and turned on the television. There it was on the news. Nine security guards of the Coentrao Events Centre had been brutally murdered. Investigations were being carried out, but it would be very difficult, seeing that the surveillance tapes were missing. There was a suspect though, and videos showed him hiding his face from the cameras with the aid of his cap as he exited the building at pretty much the same time that the crime was believed to have happened. Pictures of the slain guards rolled on the screen. A plea was made to members of the public to come up with information if they had any, and just like that, the news of his colleagues’ deaths was over and done with. No show of true condolence or sadness.
But what about the girl?
He stayed awake all through until the break of day, and through to high noon, but there was no talk about a girl’s body lying somewhere, defiled and murdered.
He jumped off the chair and went into the room, reached for the tapes where he had hidden them and went straight to the Criminal Investigations Department. There he made his statement, informing the police that he was the mysterious man under the cap and why he did what he did, he also informed them of the crime they knew nothing about, that of the defiled girl. He submitted the tapes along with his address and left the place, satisfied that he had done his bit as a good citizen.
When he got home that night, he opened his door to the warm embrace of his wife but was met with a gloved fist to the face. And as quickly as falling rain, several blows landed on him. He blacked out. When he came to, he was in a strange place, seated in the presence of five men, all menacing in their demeanor, save for one who held a bottle of yogurt who introduced himself as Pipuls, who had a calmer demeanor and was handsome.
Derek shook his head, “No picyuh, no picyuh. I don’t have picyuh, please.” he said, his jaw was beginning to swell and distort his face.
“He’s a tough one, ehn? Boss?” The dentist said. “Should I pull out one more?” The thug had picked up his apparatus again while Derek had begun to hyperventilate involuntarily as he prepared himself to be brutalised again.
“Eleyin, what is wrong with you? Is it not evident that this man is not one to be broken physically? Put that thing down. Barbarity is not what we’re known for. We are professionals, and we will deal that way.” Pipuls barked at the dentist.
Derek’s head dropped again as he caught his breath, the pain had shut one eye by now. He prayed under his breath for God to save him from this encounter. He heard the scraping of a table’s legs being dragged across the floor, but ignored it. Then there was silence.
“Say hello to Daddy.”
His head shot up, it was his daughter’s voice. He searched around frantically, but she was nowhere to be found, then his eyes settled on what was before him. The table that had been dragged earlier was right in front of him, and on it was a television, and on the screen was the image of the man he had come to hate, Diepreye Dagogo Watson, and in the background was Derek’s wife tied to a chair just as he was, her blouse bloodstained and her face thoroughly beaten and contorted in pain. Just to her side was a bed and on it was Derek’s daughter, sprawled and limbs tied to the four posts of the bed.
“If you tell us where the pictures are, Chief will be gentle with her, or else…” Pipuls said.
Derek had gone berserk by now, he thrashed about in a bid to free himself.
“Save yourself the hurt and tell us what we need to know.” Pipuls said again, still Derek struggled with his restraints. Pipul’s picked up a microphone and spoke into it. “He is still not cooperative boss,” he looked at Derek then spoke into the mic again, “Enjoy yourself, sir.” he dropped the mic.
Derek went ballistic. He gazed at the screen and saw The Chief shrugged at the camera, turned, and dropped the bath robe he wore. He was as naked as the day he was born.
Something snapped in Derek.
He contracted and stretched his body so violently that the wooden chair creaked, then broke into splinters. Pipuls stared in amazement. Derek reached for the splinters of wood that hung from the ropes on his hands, one straight, the other still attached to its brother wood, and struggled with the remainder of the chair to stand straight. On a whim, he launched at Pipuls who had reached for the mic with his back to Derek and was shouting at the Chief to inform him about what was happening. His admonition soon became a desperate gasp for air as the splinter in Derek’s hand passed from the back of his neck, missing his vertebrae by a few centimetres, and broke through his trachea and out the skin of the front of his neck. On the screen, the Chief reached for his robe, with a bewildered look on his face and was shouting into the mic.
“Pipuls! Pipuls talk to me! What’s happening over there?” His voice came over the address system.
The dentist and indeed the other thugs were stunned for a few seconds, which proved deadly for one of them. Immediately Derek retrieved his weapon from Pipuls’ neck, he jumped at the nearest thug, paying no heed to the pain in his head. Indeed he felt nothing anymore, just pure hate and primal instincts to protect his offspring and spouse. That thug suffered a most painful death as Derek’s teeth went for his throat, grabbing hold of his thyroid cartilage which was a prominent one. Derek clamped his teeth down tight, shutting off the air in his windpipe. Derek had thrown his weight at the man and brought him down and stayed on him as he crushed his throat. The dentist landed a blow on Derek’s head with his fist, but it had little effect.
The three other men proceeded to peel the livid man off their comrade, but Derek was a beast by now, not easily controlled. The one who held him by the shoulders tugged at him with all his might and off came the downed thug’s adam’s apple. Derek immediately threw the back of his head into the face of the one who tugged his shoulders and spat the windpipe in the face of the other.
“Pipuls! Eleyin! Somebody talk to me.” Diepreye’s voice carried over the address system.
The dentist, who held his waist, was next to go. As he held on to Derek, a sharp pain originated from both his sides. Derek had thrust the straight splinter into his abdomen in one side so deep it detached from the rope it was tied to, and had pushed the other splinter attached to another bit of wood upwards his abdomen in the other side, piercing through the stomach and almost reaching the diaphragm.
Derek’s hands felt the outline of a pistol by the ribs of the dentist, and quickly turning, he reached in and grabbed the pistol, placed its nozzle to the dentist’s mouth and pulled the trigger. The recoil pushed him backwards, it’s force ripped the second splinter of wood, the one almost touching the dentist’s diaphragm out of his body cavity. He fell into the one in whose face he had spat the bit of flesh, tipping the man over. The man fell on bits of splintered wood. He grabbed one and launched at Derek. Derek pulled the trigger, but being the novice he was, he missed. The man plunged the wood into Derek’s chest. Derek did not flinch, adrenaline coursed through his body in great amounts. Derek’s forehead met the man’s nose, and as the man reeled backwards, Derek aimed and pulled the trigger again, blowing a hole in the man’s chest with an exit wound large enough to fit in a standard tennis ball.
“Pip— Jesus Christ!” The startled voice of Diepreye Dagogo Watson sounded to Derek’s side. He shot the man a deathly stare and noticed that he stood in the doorway of a false door. With a yell, he lunged at the Chief who squealed and turned to run back into the secret room, but he was not quick enough. Derek fell on him and as they fell he drove the Chief’s face into the concrete floor. He did this fifteen times more then drove the wooden splinter into as many places in the man’s back as he could find.
The last man was still blacked out on the floor when Derek reached him. He made sure he never stood again.
Derek ran into the room and untied his wife who fell to the floor, her breathing erratic but deep, then he proceeded to untie his daughter from the bed. He held her close, rocking from side to side. And as suddenly as it came upon him, the adrenaline subsided, and the pain hit him hard. He fell flat on the ground, his head threatened to explode. Suddenly it was hard to breathe, it felt like he was under water. He struggled to breathe, coughing hard to expel whatever it was that was filling his lungs and making it hard to breathe. Soon his muscles began to cry out for air and everywhere grew dim. Then he heard her voice.
“Daddy, are you Ok?”
He tried to speak, but his voice was garbled, again, like he was under water.
He began to jerk uncontrollably, clawing at his chest, desperate for air.
“Daddy?” There was panic in her voice.
His baby, oh how he wanted to hold her but was too weak to do anything other than try to breathe.
And he heard nothing.