“Do you need anything else sir?”
Those are the words that bring him back to reality. He looks up at the young pretty waitress staring curiously down at him waiting to take his order.
“No, I’m good…” he says, and hands her a Ksh. 1000 note to pay for his half completed meal. He’s no longer hungry. “You can keep the change.” She thanks him with a smile and walks away.
Alfred takes one look at the single clock hanging at the far left; 3.37 pm. He sweeps his gaze across the room. To the trained eye, it’s pretty obvious he’s a stranger here; but he did a pretty good job dressing up as a local. Good thing or they’d easily recognize him. He knows his face is most probably on all TV screens across the country by now, but that’s what he’d expect anyway. Good thing the folk down here love watching Nigerian movies or they’ easily pick him out.
He takes his jacket and stands up to leave as a sharp pain runs through the wound on his shoulder; he winces. The bulge of the gun beneath his coat his visible, but nobody can really tell what he’s got in his pockets. He’s made up his mind; he’ll lay low here for a while and then when he’s come up with a fully operational plan, he’ll strike back. Revenge burns his heart and soul, almost leaving a mark that can never be erased.
*********9 hours earlier**********
Alfred stares at the white ceiling from his prison bed. Nothing. Not even a slight hint or glimmer of hope. Soon the prison guards will be escorting him to the police vehicle that will take him to the Kilimani law courts. He closes his eyes and says a prayer- as hopeless as he knows his case is. He knows he has to pay for his mistakes, but at least he knows he’s made peace with himself and his wife. He hopes she’ll be there nonetheless.
Twenty minutes later, Alfred is being ushered towards the police car that awaits. He’s about to get in when one of the guards places a piece of paper into the palm of his right hand.
“Read it when no one’s looking but it’s imperative you do so before you reach court. And Alfred, follow all the instructions carefully,” the guard whispers, before he shoves Alfred into the back seat of the car.
A few moments later the accompanying guards are embroiled in a heated conversation about who’s going to win the English Premier League and the impact Robin Van Persie has had on Manchester United. Good. He sees his window of opportunity and takes it. As instructed, he carefully tears up the paper struggles with his handcuffed hands to shove it down his throat. He slides to the left hand side of the vehicle and waits.
Now they’re almost at the courts. He knows any time now whatever is being planned for him will be put into play. Again, he silently says a word of prayer. When he opens his eyes all he sees are the news hungry cameras of the reporters; but this is seconds before an unnumbered vehicle rams into the police car. The impact is enough to push the car towards the pavement, as its occupants struggle to hold onto their seats, the driver desperately trying to bring the vehicle to a halt to avoid hitting passersby and the wall they’ll quickly approaching. But the commotion that arises is all that Alfred needs.
As promised, the left passenger door is unlocked. Alfred knows it’s going to be risky but he has to try. He makes a run for it towards the black vehicle parked on the other side of the road exactly as promised, moments before the police men realize what is going on and start firing at the running Alfred ordering him to stop. He’s almost at the vehicle when a bullet rips through his left shoulder as another shatters the rear windscreen of the vehicle ahead of him. A few inches lower he’d be on the ground, he knows. But he pushes on and dives into the now open door of the awaiting car, whose engine is already revving.
Only when they’ve sped away leaving a mass of confusion behind and stunned cameras does he feel the pain rip through his body. Blood is gushing from his bullet wound but one of the occupants- two men at the front and the woman- is already tending to his wound. He has no idea where he’s being driven; he’s in too much pain to notice anyway.
“Alfred, you made it man. That was close,” the man on the front passenger seat has turned and is addressing him. “You should have seen yourself running.” He laughs. Alfred looks at him despite his agonizing pain.
“Don’t worry, we’ll take care of your wound.”
“Now listen, your wife is dead. Murdered to make it look like she succumbed from the wounds you inflicted on her.”
“This morning. Now shut up and listen, you don’t have much time; you’ll mourn her later,” he says coldly before proceeding, “We’re taking you to a safe place. We think Sam is behind it.”
More shock waves ripple through Alfred’s head, momentarily numbing his pain. His best friend? What the fuck is going on here, is the question in his head, his mind in a wild frenzy.
“Sam planned it all. Stabbing your wife gave him the opportunity he’d been waiting for to put his plan into motion. Alfred, Sam is trying to take over your company. And he has most of your board members behind him.”
Alfred looks down, hurt and anger starting to boil in him.
“But then why should I believe anything you’ve just told me?”
“You don’t have to. That’s why we’re helping you escape so you can find out more on your own. Let’s just say we have common interests.”
“We’ll leave you here with food, a car, fake passport you can use to create your aliases, medicine to help you recover and money to start you off. The documents, meds and keys will be in a safe behind the bed upstairs.”
The man hands him a card with a number on it.
“You can use this to reach me- I’m Nathan. This is Moses and the lady that’s tended your wound is Marion.”
Now they’re entering one of the gates of a house in an estate he cannot recognize. Good thing the houses all look similar.
“You can get out now, we have to go dispose this car before the police start tracking it. The door of the house is unlocked.”
Alfred walks out, and turns just in time to see Marion smile at him shortly before the car speeds away. He walks into the house.
********9 hours 20 minutes later*********
Alfred is driving back to his motel room, memories of his dead wife running though his head. He pulls up at the side of the road and he lets the tears flow freely. They’ll pay, he decides. He is beyond the point of no return now.