You don’t get to meet the Local Government Inspector very often. Not outside Omu-Aran, the local government headquarters and definitely not personally. She had been waiting for him outside the town council office. She had been offered a chair and she had politely refused. She was too tensed up to sit. She still could not figure out why the LGI would want to meet with her. And then there was the matter of Nicholas. His house was been watched? By who? What was ….?
“Corper” Her thoughts were interrupted.”Get inside the car, I’m leaving for Omu-Aran. I’ll drive you to your lodge, I need to ask you some questions.”
What questions? She wondered as she walked towards his car. Wait, is he going to ask me out? She had heard rumours. Oh my God! No! Not me! She entered the car and shut the door. His car was very neat. Very neat people always have something to hide.
“Okay Kate, are you friends with Nicholas?” This is about Nicholas? He is not asking me out, thank God!
“Not really sir. We teach in the same school though.” It wasn’t a lie. They were not friends. Why the sudden interest in Nicholas?
“Okay. Does he have friends here? Fellow corps members or the people of the town?” Her heart was beating faster now. Did he know about Kemi? Nicholas did not have friends but she had seen him with Kemi a few times. Other people must have seen them too.
“No sir.” She answered, trying her best to keep a straight face. “He mostly keeps to himself”
“Okay” he grunted. They rode in silence for a while. It looked like he was done with his questions.”Your lodge is down that road, right?” He pointed in the wrong direction but she nodded her agreement.”You can come down here” he said stopping the car. She stepped out of the car and he drove away without saying another word.
Well, that was weird. How could I think he would ask me out? She was still a long way from her lodge. Nicholas’ house is close though.
She walked towards Imoji. It was a part of Arandun she did not visit often. Most of her students did not have parents who could afford properties on that side of town.
Nicholas lived very close to the richest people in the town. Surely they will notice any strange person lurking around.
Nicholas’ house was closer than she thought. She did not see any strange person lurking in any dark corners so she moved closer. Suddenly she stopped. She could not believe what she saw.
Oh my God, who is that?
* * *
“Sir I don’t understand why you would want us to do that. We can take care of the problem once and for all. My men are already….”
“Faruk, listen to me” His voice was always calm. It was one of the reason his men feared him. He never showed his anger. At least not in his voice.”Are you my boss?”
“No sir. Oga, I’m sorry, i just don’t understand sir” He obviously wanted some explanation.
“Okay Faruk, how about i give you a short explanation. 250,000 Naira every month. You see, that makes me boss. You understand that?”
“I understand perfectly sir”
“Good” He threw his phone on the table. He doesn’t understand. Foolish boy.
* * *
Lion King was his favourite cartoon. The story was centered on the Lions; Simba’s Father, Simba then Simba’s son. They were great characters but his favourite character was Timon. He loved the character in a way no adult should. And he was always part of his worst nightmares. He had had many nightmares where he saw a hyena tearing Timon apart. He would wake up from these nightmares scared.
He had no idea what the time was or even if he had seen Timon in his dream but he woke up very scared.
His eyes were still shut as he tried to figure out where he was. He was lying on something soft, probably a mattress. The scent of the place was really familiar. A grinding machine started in the distance, it sounded just like his neighbour’s machine.
He opened his eyes. Am I at home? All windows were closed. But he could still recognise his room even in the dark. How did I get home? Dele? I was going to meet the boss. He opened his windows. Everything looked normal. Who kidnapped me? Why would they return me? Everything was exactly as he left them. He looked outside the window again. Is that… is that Kate? What is she doing here? Oh my God, she is coming here? She already saw him. She was already at his door.
“Hi Kate” he said opening the door. “What are you doing here?” She stopped mid step. It looked like she was going to hug him. “I’m sorry, please come in” She came in without saying a word.
He kept his eyes on her as she sat down on his reading chair. He knew what must be going through her mind and he had thought about it himself. Why did he call her? He still did not know why. He had called her and here she was.
“How did you get back?” That was going to be the first of many questions he assumed.
“I have no idea. I just woke up and found myself back in my room.” She still looked confused. He was too.
“Nicholas, as you can imagine, i have lots of questions to ask you. I’ll ask only one for now. Why would anyone want to kidnap you?” She had a very serious look on. Why did she care what happened to him?
“Of course I’ve had time to think about that. And to be honest I don’t know who will want to kidnap me. My Mom is not rich, I’m obviously not rich. I’m not the only Corper here. By the way the kidnap looked personal” He realised he was talking to himself. “Sorry Kate. I just don’t understand what’s happening.”
“Do you have maybe, an uncle or something? Your Dad? You didn’t mention your Dad. Is he… I don’t know, you didn’t mention him” She had a point. Why had he not considered him.
“My Dad, wow! Why didn’t I think of him? First, I’ve not seen him in years. I’m kind of an illegitimate son. You can imagine the kind of life I had.” He could see pity on her face. He did not like being pitied. “No, it’s not like that. My Mom took care of me. But the thing is my Dad was rich. He was a politician. A big one” She looked surprised.
“Nicholas, you’re saying ‘was’. Why are you talking about him in past tense? Is he… like dead?” She said the last part in a whisper.
“Yeah Kate, he is. He’s dead. Recently actually. Three months ago. But that can’t have anything to do with this. I don’t even use his name. Wait what is that?” He moved towards the window. He heard footsteps. They seemed to be running.
“Nick, is that Kemi’s Father?” She looked at him. “Oh my God!”
Nobody saw me at her place. How did they know? What do I tell them?
“Kate, what do I do?” She looked confused. They were close now; Kemi’s Father, one of the town’s chiefs and two men he did not recognise. “Kemi, they’re close” He was really scared now.
“CORPER COME OUT O. COME OUT”
He had to face them. He had to leave the room, he did not want them to see Kate.
He stepped outside, it was time for Timon to face the Hyenas.