“Your services are no longer required. The maze has cut all links with you and if you are found, you will be eliminated”, a gruff mechanical voice pierced through the speakers of the phone that the huge dark man, dressed in all black, held to his left ear. He bristled momentarily as controlled rage seeped through him. “You’ve been disavowed!” the voice said again through the phone with finality.
“Disavowed”, the man repeated to himself, with a disbelieving tone, his cold eyes instantly reduced to slits. The phone made some crackly sounds and then a notification popped on the screen – “Disconnected”.
In that few moments, the huge man’s mind was made up – eliminate the members of the Maze, an assassin group of five professional killers known as the five vipers of which he was a member and the second best assassin with the coded name that depicted his personality and skills – The Shadow. He would start from the top, the sponsor, and the head of the five vipers called the Provost.
He inserted the phone into a pocket in his tight black khaki, gritted his teeth and gunned his motor bike. The engine of the powerful bike revved to life and without bothering to put on his helmet, the huge man kicked at the gears and zoomed off south of his location, towards the huge story building that was a shopping mall called THE PLUSH. His eyes bore wicked intentions, and just like his name, were full of shadows.
SEKEM ESTATE, IKEJA.
“Honey, you should see this!” Jim, the squatty white man seated on the sofa and watching what appeared to be the 10 A.M. broadcast on television called out in the direction of the kitchen where a young dark woman came running out. She came to a stop in front of the flat screen T.V.
“Oh, my God”, she said as her face transformed into a terribly horrifying image. She took her hands quickly to her face as she began to sob uncontrollably.
“How did this happen?” she asked, her face wet with tears and shoulders heaving. Her eyes were lost and yet, filled with emotions as she looked at the fat man on the sofa.
“It is okay, Elizabeth”. The man said, getting up to hold the woman in a bear hug. His huge body completely shielded her slender frame. He leaned down and gave her a peck on the forehead and placed his pointed red chin on her head.
The image on the television displayed a reporter speaking rapidly as people bustled about. There was smoke in the background and the fire service personnel ran about with hoses. There was a headline on the screen; “EXPLOSION AND SHOOTING IN IKEJA PLUSH MALL – Three dead others injured.” Behind the reporter, paramedics wheeled a dead man to an ambulance. He was a squat dark man with long grey hair and trails of blood around his face. Blood flowed from his opened mouth into the leather covering which was zipped but left open a fraction so that only his face showed. The paramedics picked the trolley up bodily; resetting the rollers and then, one of them reached up and zipped in the dead man completely into the leather sack, shielding him from the world. Their faces were emotionless as they closed the back doors of the ambulance and went back into the building for two other corpses.
“It is okay, Elizabeth.” The fat White man said still holding the woman. “I will be at the station tomorrow for an assignment there”, he said gently with a British accent. “Hopefully, I will talk to inspector Justin and get information on what happened to your mall”.
“Thank you, Jim” Elizabeth said from a parched throat, her voice gruff and somewhat masculine. “I’ll appreciate that.” She said and they both walked up the stairs into a luxurious room.
The huge black man took in the sight around him as he unscrewed the silencer from his pistol. His eyes were emotionless slits in his unsmiling face but had an alluring quality. He picked in all the details around him with masterful alertness and slipped his pistol into its pouch beneath his shiny black leather jacket and then, zipped up. He mounted his motor bike and took one more look at the ambulance where the dead man was put with a deathly smile. Putting on his black helmet and bringing the engine of his motor bike to live, the big black man kicked at his gear, spun the bike around and zoomed off leaving behind a cloud of dust.
The club was lively and fun. Half naked girls moved about with abandon swinging their backsides with seductive intentions. Their body shone with the effect of the oil they had applied before coming out to the pool area. In the background, the speakers boomed the iconic ASHAWO music that usually spiced up a gathering filled with perverted big men, Chiefs, business moguls and other big boys of town with money to burn.
In the partial darkness, the swimming pool glowed an excellent sky-blue. Designed with tiny water resistant bulbs that shone white light and high quality blue friction-improving tiles for the pool floor, the pool as with all other structures at the club sent a clear message – class, doings!
Huge men with boxers and distended bellies sipped wines from elegant glasses and laughed out loud with the damsels around them. They reached into their briefcases frequently to retrieve themselves some bunch of dollars which they slapped unto the buttocks and breasts of the half naked girls that danced before them.
However, in a corner of the club, looking terribly agitated was a slender dark man who wasn’t feeling the vibes. He had a lone cigarette in his mouth and he inhaled deeply on it as he paced impatiently around. He took out his phone and dialled hurriedly.
“Hello boss!” He spoke frantically in a half scream. The phone made a clicking sound and began to read showing that he was connected.
“The Provost is dead. So is Tingle and Storm. You are next, Shark!” The voice from the other end said calmly and the cigarette fell off the slender man’s trembling lips.
“Shadow”, he said with fear. “So it was you?”
“The Maze ceases to exist, Shark. I cease to be Shadow.” The response from the other end came and the line got disconnected.
“Jesus!” The slender man said. He knew what was coming. As he ran to his car, he knew he had to complete the mission which Shadow had abandoned; kill Elizabeth Parker, a Multi-millionaire and wife of the squat British man he had only met once, Jim Parker. He feared for his life but he had to fulfil the contract. In the Maze, a promise is a promise.
The huge man, dressed in all black, leaned on his bike punched in some numbers. He put the phone on loud speaker and listened intently. There was a clicking sound and the call got connected.
“Elizabeth Parker”, he said calmly, “there is a threat on your life. You must leave your home now and get to the nearest police station. Every minute counts and if you make a mistake, it is certain death. Keep this information from Mr. Jim.” Shadow cut the call and threw the phone away. He mounted his motor bike and set it at top speed down the road. He followed the directions in his brain that led to Sekem Estate.
SEKEM ESTATE, IKEJA.
As the daughter of a billionaire who had also carved a name for herself as a child prodigy, Elizabeth had been forced to live under strict security procedures and she had eventually gotten used to it and she often though if it would ever end.
“Honey, what’s the matter”, Jim Parker said, breaking into her train of thoughts and looking at the phone she held. “I heard you talking to someone”.
“Oh, nothing”, Elizabeth said, remembering the final words of the man on phone; “keep this away from Mr. Jim Parker”. “I’ll need to go out to the mall right now”, she said.
“It’s late. Let that be tomorrow.”
“I actually have to go right now”, the woman said and grabbed her purse. She walked towards a car in the parking space entered and zoomed off. And in the house, Jim Parker looked through the window at his exiting wife and dialled a number.
SEKEM ESTATE, IKEJA.
Shark slammed on his accelerator in pursuit of the woman behind the wheels of the 4runner jeep in front of him. His gun was held tightly in his left hand while he controlled the wheels of his car with his right. As the car ahead made a bend, Shark opened fire at the car but realized it was bullet proof. “Shit”, he muttered.
From behind, Shadow approached calmly in his motor bike. He levelled his gun at the tires of the car in front and shot. The car swerved and slammed into a wall, coming to an abrupt stop.
Shadow shot the bike forward cutting the woman off.
“I believe you are safe”, he said to Elizabeth Parker who recognized the voice and wound down the glass.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“My name is shadow. I worked for a now defunct assassinating organisation called the Maze. We were contacted by your husband to eliminate you. Other information is irrelevant. There is a witness in the car behind and the police would be here soon. See you around.” He said and kicked his motor bike to live.
“Wait, where are you going?”
“I’m going into the shadows.” With that, the big black man’s motor bike shot forward with powerful speed and disappeared into the city of Ikeja.