There was something off about the office setting. I felt it appeared too serene. I had successfully maneuvered every camera and heat signature sensor, but I wasn’t comfortable. It wasn’t my first time: it definitely wasn’t for lack of experience. I tried to clear my head of doubts: for it was my overburdened mind that let uncertainties crawl in.

I’d tried to give up this life, but the universe definitely me back. Tina, the love of my life had been kidnapped – I knew who had done it.

At 35 years of age, I’ve seen and done lots of things, many of my decisions and actions I regret. One of such was the day I decided to join the radical cult group at ABU Zaria – Bullseye. Worst decision of my existence. After many years of membership, I broke the cardinal rule, and exited the Brotherhood when I saw the error of my ways. I picked up the pieces of my life, changed my identity, and moved the City of Lagos for new opportunities. Ten years now, I’m a student on my way to getting a PhD in Software Programming at the prestigious Nigerian Dynamic Institute of Science and Technology; my life more colorful because of the allure that’s Tina Greg – she helped me stand when all I could do was weep at the feet of my past mistakes. All had been quiet until now.

I returned home two nights ago, and Tina was gone, our home a complete mess. A note was conspicuously left for me – it announced it was a kidnap. A number was also scribbled on it. I called and what they wanted was for me to steal a software prototype from Billions Tower – A skyscraper owned by a young billionaire – in the Mega city of Eko Atlantic. I was furious, this was a Brotherhood that terrorized the whole of Northern-Nigeria at the time I was with them, why would they want me for a job when I was retired? I recall pleading to deaf ears of my blunt skills: they’ve been useless the last ten years as a practicing civilian. The guy at the other end of the phone quickly reminded me that I was one of the best, and that the nature of the mission suited someone with my set of skills.

My investigation revealed the prototype was at the internal server of Billions Tower. I thought it a suicide mission: no one could gain access into Billions Tower talk more into their server room. But here I was, two minutes deep into the mission, and a floor away from the control server room. As my contractor assumed, it was easy because the building’s system was 70% under my control; I had another seven minutes before my back-door access would be noticed. This was the life I didn’t want, because the thrill I felt was not quantifiable.

I took a glance at my stopwatch as I entered the server room – I had about 150 seconds to exit the building. Retrieving the document in question was the easiest part of the job. Soon, I was on my way to the rooftop where my escape ride should arrive in 10 seconds.

As I burst through the door to the space at the rooftop, I carelessly looked around: Tony, the guy I contracted for my exit was nowhere in sight. It was a good thing I had a backup plan: I was to swing onto the neighboring skyscraper, where I’d wait out the police sirens, attention, and publicity if Tony still didn’t show up at the end of the extra 5 minutes I made provision for. As I worked on the pulley for my jump-and-swing motion at the edge of the rooftop, my attention got drawn towards my right-hand side. It was then it dawned on me that there was someone there – also at the edge. I pulled out my ear plugs (they’re used to filter out distractions from the surrounding during missions). I looked closely, and saw a hooded figure holding a lady who was crying profusely. I recognized her sob-pattern – it was Tina. My Tina!

“You’re finally here.” I heard the figure say. The voice sounded deep. It had to be a man, I thought.

“Let her go,” I pleaded. I gently walked towards them.

He commanded me to stop, I didn’t listen. His next action caused me delay on my footsteps. I watched my life get unceremoniously shattered, my future robbed before my helpless eyes. He shot Tina and tossed her off the rooftop like a piece of garbage. My hands met my mouth agape as I looked down the rooftop to Tina’s falling body. My vision become obscured, my heart broken. The alarm went off: The police were on their way.

“It’s all a setup.” I heard him boast. Kidnapping Tina and having me rob Billions Tower was so I could watch the love of my life die in the most gruesome way possible and still go to jail for multiple offenses that he’d already set me up for. “No one leaves Bullseye.” He said to mock me, as he revealed his tattoo to show me his identity – He was a professional hit-man for the Brotherhood, just as I used to be.

I understood what this meant: there was no way two of us would leave the rooftop alive – I was meant to live so that I would be humiliated through a public trial and die shamefully. I knew this because it was a punishment I formulated when I was with the Brotherhood. My beautiful life was over whichever way, I might as well dictate how it’d play out – I pulled my gun from its hold and fired against him. He expertly dodged the bullet, as expected. I immediately greeted him with two mini-knives – one for each leg. The only way he wasn’t going to bleed out was if he remained still. With nothing more to live for, I pulled my gun against my chin.

2 thoughts on “Bullseye” by Arinze Talius Dike (@talius)

  1. @talius. Okay, so I have a big smile on my tired face. Great plot, nicely written and well executed. A few typo errors though. But still a splendid piece. I am like loving it.

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