Journalism in the service of society

Keep or Kill (2)

   Five: Six

KIKI hurried out of Mekus Money’s apartment and got to her utility vehicle.

She turned on the ignition and was prompted to check in, which she ignored. She had six hours from receiving her brief to complete the mission and check in, otherwise her boss would lose credibility and refund the client.

Glancing at her dashboard time, she had an hour left. She drove off and within thirty minutes, she arrived at where she was going to get the answers she needed.

She looked up at the building, and for the first time, her heart beat uncontrollably. She was scared.

***

Six: The Lilac Gardens

Kiki took a deep breath as she walked towards the building, and glanced at the sign, which read ‘The Lilac Gardens.’ It was her boss’s undercover company name, and the operational office where files and information were stored.

She clocked in with her fingerprint, and once again, she was prompted to check in, but she didn’t. She didn’t have much time, so she dashed into the main file room and began combing through. Barely finding the document she wanted, she heard someone tug at the door, and two voices talking.

Her heart beat faster than normal for the second time.

***

Seven: Mirror People

Kiki immediately got on all fours and lay flat on the floor, rolling under a cabinet, as the door opened. Holding the document, in form of a white book, she took a deep breath of relief, then calmed herself down. She saw two pairs of legs walk in. One had heels on and the other had flat shoes with the letters M.P., equivalent to Mirror People, embroidered on it.

Mirror People was the name the organization of assassins went by because the members, all female, lived a double life, as divas and as killers. Whenever they were on a mission, they had on the customized M.P. flat shoes for ease of execution, afterwards, they were always on heels.

Kiki heard rummaging through a cabinet, which then came to an abrupt end.

“Here’s a copy of the brief. The target’s name is Emeka Monye, but he is also known as Mekus Money.”

“Mekus Money the singer?” the other voice, belonging to flat shoes, asked.

“Do you have a problem with that?” high heels also asked, sounding fierce. Even if flat shoes had an objection, she wouldn’t have dared to speak.

“No, I don’t,” flat shoes replied. “Why would I? At least I get to meet him in person before I shoot him in the head.”

“Good,” high heels stated. “All the information you need on him is in the file. The Cuttist should have checked in by now, and the boss is getting worried that something has gone wrong. Find the target and eliminate him within the hour.”

“I will.” There was a pause. “What about The Cuttist?”

“Let’s focus on the target for now. Time is of the essence. Once that is handled, we’ll find out what went wrong with The Cuttist, and act accordingly.”

“Act accordingly,” Kiki repeated, under her breath. She knew what that meant. The Mirror People showed no mercy. Once an assassin failed for whatever reason, she had to be eliminated.

Kiki waited for the ladies to leave, then called Mekus Money. The phone was answered after one ring.

“It’s Kiki,” she said.

“How did you get my…? Of course, you already have it.”

“You need to leave your apartment right now. Go to someone you can trust. I’ll call you within the hour. Don’t drive.”

Kiki hung up before Mekus Money could respond or ask any question, then she snuck out with the white book.

***

Eight: The Science Project

Kiki definitely couldn’t go back to her place, because she knew that it would already be under watch. She had a secure and untraceable phone line, but she also couldn’t call anyone she knew in order not to endanger their lives; she was certain that their phone calls would be tapped. It was better safe than sorry.

She abandoned her utility vehicle at the office after taking her emergency bag and tools kit, then flagged down and boarded a commercial motorbike to nowhere in particular. The rider took her far away to a remote area, then she alighted and asked him to wait for her. She walked to a secure corner before digging into the white book for answers.

She didn’t find any reason stated by the client for wanting Mekus Money dead, and he truly didn’t seem to be in any shady business. However, the client had no name. What was stated in the white book was simply a strange-looking code. Kiki immediately dialed Mekus Money, and he answered just after the first ring, as if he had been desperate for a phone call.

“It’s Kiki,” she said, as soon as he answered. “Are you safe?”

“At the moment, yes,” he responded. “I’m with a childhood friend. Femi Kingsmate.”

“Does anyone know you’re there?”

“Apart from him, no one else knows. I didn’t even call him, I just showed up here.”

“Good. Did you tell him anything?”

“No.”

“That’s better, and I don’t think you were followed.”

“Followed?” Mekus Money seemed frightened.

“The organization sent someone else after you. I overheard her. She plans to put a bullet in your head.”

Mekus Money didn’t say anything at first, but Kiki knew he was scared. After swallowing painfully, he spoke. “Did you find any answers?”

“No and half-yes. There’s no reason stated for wanting you dead, so it makes things difficult, but at least I know you’re not into anything funny. As for the client, there was no name, just a code. The Science Project.”

“Say that again?”

“The Science Project,” Kiki repeated. “Do you know what that is?”

“Even worse. I know who it is,” Mekus Money whispered. “He just walked into the room… Femi Kingsmate.”

“Get out of there, right now!”

Kiki heard a click on the phone. Mekus Money had hung up. She felt sudden palpitations for the third time. This time she was worried.

***

Nine: Missing

Kiki knew that an assassin was already on the way to kill Mekus Money, unless she got there first.

She made a call, and once answered, she hurriedly said, “Princewill, it’s Kiki. I need a location for a Femi Kingsmate, on a personal tab.”

Private Eye Princewill Jackson cleared his throat, and replied, “I’ll see what I can do.”

“My friend is missing and I believe Femi Kingsmate can help me find him. I need it now.”

The P.I. said nothing, but Kiki could hear typing. A moment later, he announced, “He stays at Aja.”

“Do you have an address?”

***

Ten: Lost And Found

Kiki got to Femi Kingsmate’s house and circled it twice, but didn’t find anything suspicious. There were no cameras, and neither was there foreign presence, judging by personal experience and all the possible hiding spots in the compound.

She found a way into the house undetected and cautiously went from room to room, not even her footsteps were heard. Strangely, she didn’t find anyone and she feared she was late.

She opened another door, and there he was, Mekus Money, holding a chair.

“Lost and found,” she said, with a smile.

He flung the chair and ran to hug her.

***

Eleven: Missing (2)

Kiki hugged Mekus Money back, and tightly, ignoring the fact that she looked like a softy. She then withdrew from him, and asked, “What happened to you? I had my heart in my mouth the whole time thinking you were dead.”

Mekus Money looked at her, smiling.

“What happened to your phone?”

“I hung up when Femi walked in, because I didn’t want him to get suspicious. He had acted normal, although surprised, when I first showed up at his doorstep. His questions, his remarks, they all make sense to me now. He wanted to know what I was doing at his place so early and if I had any issues. He probably thought I had come to confront him, but when he knew that I was obviously clueless, he excused himself to go make a call. He returned while I was speaking with you.”

“How did he act?”

“Quite normal, to be frank.”

“What’s the deal with him and The Science Project?”

“The Science Project doesn’t have to do with anything. It was just a name we gave to him in high school when he flopped his first major science project.”

“You all mocked him?”

“Please, everyone got mocked in high school, and we never stopped calling him that even after graduating. He still goes by the name today, reason why he used it in this case.”

“Looks like he used it to hide his real name. Apart from high school friends, no one else can link the name to him. And speaking of the case, do you think it’s a revenge thing?”

Mekus Money shook his head. “It might be a jealousy thing. He always had things tough and has had to either beg his way through life or suffer for everything he got. He also claims that artists, actors and athletes don’t deserve their money, because it’s easy money. And with the World Award nomination, it’s enough reason to come for me. Also…”

“Also, what?”

“There’s you.”

“Me?”

“He was also at the club yesterday, pretending to celebrate with me. But he said he saw you first.”

Kiki blushed. “It’s a jealousy thing, then. Where is he now?”

“I don’t know. He said he would be right back that he wanted to go freshen up and join me.”

“He lied.”

“What?”

“He’s missing. There’s no one else in the house… just you. It’s clearly a set up.”

***

Excerpted from Keep Or Kill, by C.M Okonkwo (Laybels Publishing, 2020)

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