THE SHADOW OF DEATH – Episode 2 (Grey Wine)

THE SHADOW OF DEATH – Episode 2 (Grey Wine). This is me sharing a story I wrote a few years back. It’s been bought a few times but I have decided to post it in episodes. Join me every Saturday! Thank you.

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Opening her eyes to the bright hospital lights, Tolu feels the sharp pain in her chest but then all she wanted to do was cry. She knows something has gone wrong but can’t remember much yet. It’s painful to breathe, not to talk of crying. The Intensive Care Unit wing sixty-nine of the state teaching hospital is as cold as death itself, Tolu attempts to lift herself but is pulled down by the throbbing pain in her head. Turning her eyes felt like she was moving heavy lead balls in her eye sockets, her whole body feels sore. The Bed rows next to her carry various casualty cases, it’s a painful sight to see. A lot of the unconscious patients seem to be in a coma as Tolu had been. A nurse comes to her side immediately they notice her moving and starts trying to explain things to her “The bullet missed your vital organs but the impact knocked you down and out, that was also partly a result of how you hit the ground.” She tries nodding but realizes she has a cast on, my condition must have been terrible she thinks to herself. The nurse takes a sit beside her, “when the Emergency van brought you in, there was no way to identify you, probably your belongings got lost at the crime scene.” Her swollen eyes blink rapidly, Tolu could only remember in short flashes, but the mention of a crime scene brings a wave of memories. She remembers Vince and starts to cry, struggling to speak but her lips are too heavy. The nurse brushes her hair and face, cleaning the tears off. “No one could be contacted to come for you at first. We all didn’t know what to do with you, and you were bleeding out. Some of the Doctors had concluded to just let you bleed out since no one was there to pay your bills. One of the nurses noticed you had slipped into a coma and your vital signs were dropping dangerously fast. Then Dr. Patrick came along, he bumped into your bed which had been carelessly moved to the ICU entrance. The other young surgeons were deliberating on the choice they had to make, either to let the girl have her chance or leave her to die. He asked around for those in charge of your surgery. Tolu turns on her side so she could see her smiling companion, “You need to see how Nurse Pipe got totally flushed up when the doc challenged her,” the ruddy woman in her early thirties who had for three years been the head Nurse for the ICU kept apologizing profusely, the ward had never seen Dr. Patrick so angry before.  The head nurse tried explaining that they had not been able to identify the victim or find any contact details. Evidently displeased Dr. Pipe ignored the nurse, Nurse Cynthia continued her animated storytelling, she even mimicked the Doctors and Nurses “get that stretcher in here before the young woman loses what little blood she has left,” she did a Male voice. They had done a hurried procedure to save Tolu’s life. Now awake but unable to move, Tolu realizes she just missed out on a date with death.

synopsis, shadow of death by Jonathan Oladeji

~|~

It’s half past six in the evening, the Master clocked chimes repeatedly for some time. The governor’s lodge is as quiet as a grave. The reserve area for government staff typically winds down after the shops and offices close. At the security lodge to the Governor’s residence, Malik and his security details arrive to take over the night shift. The grateful guards hoist their already packed bags and head off into the fading light of the evening. The senior guards were usually scheduled for night shifts, while most of the junior guards leave for their homes. By principle the guards lived off the grounds but close enough to respond in case of an emergency. “Lazy boys” retorts Malik, the few ones still within earshot reply with snorts of disdain “una go soon beg for sleep na,” replies one of them, they all laugh at this remark knowing how Malik was a heavy sleeper. Most times lower rank guards extorted him to cover up for him when he slept on duty. Three officers man the gates on the outside, they were not really expecting anything as the governor’s residence had never been attacked. None of them realized that Ipade had a bounty price placed out for his head, the head hunters had set out a few hours earlier heading for the governor’s house.

Just like any other boring cool evening, the men stationed with Malik are at the tables drawing cards. Their muffled arguments intermittently startle the dozing guard. Malik’s eyes droop, heavy with sleep. It took a while before he notices the sudden silence, he was about to sigh in relief but is alarmed as he slightly opens his eyes to see the men straining their ears. “It sounds like a riot,” a breathless guard exclaims as he scrambles into the security office to alert the others. Just about ten meters from the gate, a troop of armed men advance on the residence. A shot to the head fells one of the guards who had tried to go for the gate locks, heavier artillery follows. The guards had little time to respond, they retrieve the almost discarded blockades. Malik who is the highest in rank quickly realizes that that was their only chance of holding any defense. Some of the men start to roll concrete blockades behind the already battered gates while the others kept a steady stream of gunshots at the approaching army. Looking around in frenzy Malik yells to a young recruit “Tunde! Run to the reception and phone the IG, we can’t hold out for too long” the scared recruit scampers off in fright.

~|~

“Daddy Tolu, I told you to leave that man and his people!” “Calm down” Elder stammers as he hurriedly alights from his car, he runs to the gate to double lock them. “why should I be calm now?” she replies, the news on TV is covering the ongoing attack on the governor’s residence. Elder Toriola had left earlier in the day for the opening ceremony. The governor had invited them all to flag off his campaign for reelection. Not too long after Elder Toriola left, reports started coming in, some phone calls were from a few church members who knew about the elder’s closeness to the governor. The news reporter on TV was visibly shaken as they showed a live footage, the governor’s residence was being attacked. Party members started leaving the ceremony in a hurry, the governor’s security team deployed men to go back to his house. “Mama Tolu we need to pray” elder says, she nods a reply, visibly shaken. “Yes, let us pray” they both enter the living room and kneel to pray. “Father I hear that our son is the target of these evil people—” “aah!” Mrs. Toriola opens her eyes and gapes in bewilderment. “What do you mean? Tell me what you mean or I will die ooo,” she grabs her husband’s shirt and continues shouting.

~|~

It’s a common saying that death sneaks up on people. Ipade, totally carried away in the euphoria of his lustful escapade is shocked back to his senses by screams. The maids had fled their quarters to the main residence. Tunde runs all the way from the security post, knocks on the door and barges in on Ipade and Vera; both stark naked in bed. Tunde quickly recovers from the shock, he looks away and blurts out his report. “Sir, the governor’s residence is under attack and we believe they have come for you.” Ipade hurriedly pulls on his jean trouser, stretches across the bed to grab his army green shirt. “Get dressed woman!” Ipade yells at Vera who was still lying down unperturbed. Ipade turns to the recruit, “Tunde, what are you talking about?”

“The men have ben chanting your name since they opened fire on us.” Ipade takes a quick glance through the window and sees the flashing lights. The main house is too far for anyone to hear the shots. “Okay, get back to your post,” he hurriedly dismisses the recruit. “You are a dead man Ipade” Vera retorts, not budging from the bed she lies there not in the least bit moved. He shrugs and starts to leave. “I can help you,” she says. He turns back into the room, “How? You know something I don’t? speak up” he barks. He pulls Vera to a sitting position, she chuckles and jerks her robe from his grip. “Just across the fields behind this house you can hide in my husband’s study, all his secrets are in there. Even the contract showing he ordered the hit on Sleek-T, money trails, everything you need to nail him. That may be your bargaining chip with these people, he is the only one who can get these dogs off your back”. “What’s in this for you?” Ipade asks.

“I want revenge, he used me to rise to the top and now he treats me like useless baggage. These guys are not from the moon, think! They are a revenge mob, those who refused to align with my husband after their leader was murdered and Festus has made them believe you did it. You can only appease them by giving them something valuable enough.” Ipade is desperate, he quickly decides to take his chances with Vera, such a move could prove resourceful while he mapped out an escape from this mob. He pats Vera’s cheeks, grabs the key to the study and makes a beeline for the back of the main building. A handful of the men are headed for the main building; they keep a steady volley of gunshots at the entrance to the building. Ipade darts across the field towards the small building that serves as the governor’s study.

~|~

Elder Toriola and his wife are still on their knees praying, they could not stop. Knowing that Ipade was the main reason behind the attackhad changed everything for them. “Mummy Tolu, I think we have prayed enough. We should not let our prayers be directed by fear ooo, let us just trust God.” “You are right, maybe after I forgive you for your involvement in all these then we can pray better.”  The reporter on TV continues to reel out updates, Elder starts to doze off on the couch while his wife lies sprawled out on the rugged living room floor. The live feed could only show what was happening at the gate to the governor’s house. Some of the men sat on huge armored tanks, the police van was parked close to the reporters. None of the Police men could go any closer to the gate.

Are you in in a hurry? You could just grab a copy and go read it all!!I also added my second fiction book, check them out.

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