The room was dark and Martins could not tell if it was day or night. He laid on the floor on his side. He was not sure how long he had been in that one position but he was sure he was not changing anytime soon. His body hurt all over, he was sure things were broken in different places. At some point he had expected to die but apparently the human body could take way more than he assumed. He did not even pass out once. His torturers knew what they were doing. They hurt him so much but only till the point his body could take it.
This could not continue.
They had taken a break but he was sure they would be back. And soon. This wasn’t even about the Blue Canim, they didn’t know about that. They were asking him a question he couldn’t quite answer. He did not know who originally got the information about where the seized properties were kept so there was no way he could give them that information. He could give them Tiny Tony’s name but they would never find him and so they’ll think he sent them on a wild goose chase. That wouldn’t reduce the torture at all.
He needed a plan, a way to stop this madness but his brain could not handle too much work at the moment.
Martins moved his left arm closer and he winced at the pain. He needed help.
The door opened and he heard a set of boots enter the room. A switch clicked and light flooded the room. The light went straight into his eyes and shut them quickly.
“Mister Martins, please stand.” Agent Sanni said.
Martins did not move. Not because he had any desire to disobey these men but because he couldn’t.
“You heard the man,” Agent Ponsah said. “Stand up.”
Martins struggled to push his legs out but they wouldn’t move. It was probably stupid that he had stayed in one position for so long. His body was now too stiff to move without excruciating pain.
“Do you want me to kick you up?” Agent Ponsah asked, moving towards him.
“No, please.” Martins mumbled.
He wanted to cry. No, he was crying already. The tears were not falling yet but he was sobbing inside. This was not what he bargained for.
“Help him up.” Agent Sannni said.
Ponsah, the demoniac put his arm under him and pulled him up. He left Martins as soon as he was upright and he shouldn’t have. Martins crumbled back to the floor, his whole body shaking with the pain that coursed through it.
“Please, what do you want?” Martins cried through the tears now pouring freely from his face.
“The name of your source.”
“I already told you…” Agent Ponsah moved closer and Martins stopped. “Let me explain to you how I got his job, maybe that will help me.”
“I have a contact, Tiny Tony.” That was the first time he was telling anybody about Tony but who cared, he was about to die anyway. “He got the job from somebody, I don’t know who, and told me about it.”
“Who is this Tiny Tony?”
“That is his street name. Anthony Badmus is his real name.”
“Where can I find this Anthony?”
“I can give you his address but you won’t find him. He would have left town immediately he heard about my arrest.”
“For your sake, we find him.”
Detective Muritala sat in front of the police station, his hands on his head. It was a posture of doom and gloom and it got him stares from passersby but that was exactly how he felt. His son was dead? Everything he had done was for nothing? He had soiled his name, soiled his hands, soiled his records and now it was all for nothing? He did not even get to do anything for the son, nothing at all. Worse still, they never even met.
He removed his hands from his head and covered his face with them. He wanted to cry but the tears did not come. He wanted to go throw himself off a tall building but that would mean standing up and he did not have the will to do even that. What was he to do now? Shekiya would be devastated, the son was all she had. It was her fault this had happened to him. Why did she come? Why didn’t she just stay with her son? Why did she have to tell him he had a son? Why did she have the son at all?
“Hey.” Someone called over his shoulder.
He looked up the stairs and saw the bald officer who had let him in to see Martins. He ignored the officer and looked ahead. He should probably go to Kano to be with Shekiya. But will she want to be with him? He had left her all those years because of his stupid arrogance and now when she came back to him for help, he had done nothing. He was as useless now as he was then.
“Detective?” The officer called again.
Detective Muritala ignored him.
“Look Detective, you can ignore me all you want but if we don’t do something, Martins is going to die in there.”
Martins? Die? So what if he died? He was a thief who had probably killed too, even though he insisted he hadn’t. Martins was a criminal who had successfully roped him into his crime, he did not care if he died. Detective Muritala shook his head. He could not imagine the depths of filth he had descended into just to save his son. He hated himself for what he had done. He hated everyone who helped him do it. Martins, especially.
The officer came down the stairs and stood by him.
“What do you want Officer?” Detective Muritala asked.
“We need to rescue him from the psychos torturing him.”
“Martins.” The officer said. “I don’t know what your relationship is with him but…”
“I don’t have any relationship with him.” Detective Muritala cut him off. “He was a suspect in a few cases I was running and now he’s going to jail for sure so, that’s it. I’m done with him.”
The officer moved closer. “Who do you think you are kidding? I don’t know exactly how, but I know you were involved in this robbery.”
Detective Muritala stood. “Are you accusing me of colluding with a criminal?”
“Relax old timer, we all have our reasons for doing what we do.”
Detective Muritala sat.
“I’ve checked you out and I see you have an impeccable record, clean as a whistle. If you had anything to do with Martins, you must have had a good reason.”
“I said, I didn’t…”
“I know you didn’t have anything to do with it, alright.” The officer said. “But let’s say you did. Are you sure you want him in there? Are you sure he won’t mention your name to his torturers? Are you sure he hasn’t already?”
The man had a point.
Maybe it was time he headed for Kano. If Martins named him as an accomplice he could always just stay there. And if the heat got too much, he could move to Chad, he had people there. There was no need to wait anymore, he was leaving town.
He stood and started to walk away.
“Where do you think you are going?” The officer called after him.
“Far away from you.”
He had taken just a few steps when his phone rang. He looked at the phone, he knew this number. He answered the call.
“Gotten what I asked for?” The voice on the phone asked.
“Go to hell.”
“That was not what I was expecting.” The person on the phone sounded genuinely surprised. “Sounds like you don’t care about your son anymore.”
“No, I don’t.” Detective Muritala said. “My son is dead.”
“Oh yeah.” Detective Muritala said. “Sounds like your men on the ground aren’t as good as you think they are.”
There was a pause and for a second Detective Muritala considered ending the call.
“Well, that doesn’t change anything.” The person on the phone said.
“You are still getting my stuff from Martins.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Oh yes, you are.”
“Look detective, I am a desperate man here, okay? I tried using the carrot, unfortunately that failed. Now I have to use the cane.”
Detective Muritala paused. “What do you mean?”
“Your son may be dead but there is still someone else you love here in Kano, right?”
Detective Muritala swallowed. “What on earth are you talking about?”
“Your son’s mother is here, isn’t she?”
“If you touch her, I swear I will…”
“No need for threats Detective. Just fulfil your end of the deal and I promise you I will fulfil my end. Your son may be gone but I’m sure you and your woman could use some retirement fund.”
Detective Muritala stayed quiet. He had gone to bed with a criminal once and he had lost everything he held dear, including the person for whom he did all these. Why on earth would he do the same again? What was the assurance this terrible person on the phone will not harm Shekiya anyway?
“And if I say no?”
“She will be dead before the day is over.”
Tiny Tony ended the call and set the phone down on the table. He could not believe that he was now down to the level of threatening women. Things had changed for him. For everybody. Martins was locked up, taking regular doses of beating. RoseAnne and Wura were not faring much better. Nobody had laid a hand on them, he had begged for that but they weren’t exactly in heaven. In less than a week, he had gone from a wealthy and connected business man who had a good criminal reputation to a person who betrayed his friend, threatened innocent people and ran errands for a pompous idiot.
He sighed and stood. He walked to the window and looked out. He caught sight of a construction work going on just across the road from the building he was in. It was a gigantic building, probably owned by some corrupt politician in Abuja. He shook his head, who was he to judge a corrupt politician?
Could he redeem this? Could he still save this situation?
Martins was crazy but he was a good person. He’d stolen much in his time but he’d never hurt any of his targets. He had drugged them, he had gassed them, he had done all sorts of things he would go to hell for but he never permanently hurt any of them. He did not deserve to go down as the victim of his friend’s betrayal. He had to do something about it.
The door of the room opened and he entered.
The one person that had turned his life to this nightmare. Ojiji, as he liked to be called was a huge man. He was huge to men with average height, it was worse for Tiny Tony. He was nobody as far as Tiny Tony could tell. Nobody in the game knew him or where he came from but he’d bought his way with money. He had loads of it and for some reason he was very interested in Martins.
At first he suspected nothing of Ojiji, which was very unlike him. He had survived so long in the business by instinctively knowing who was good and was who bad. He was probably mesmerized by all the money, idiot. Now, he was so deep into whatever Ojiji was doing he could not get out.
“How are we doing with the plan?” Ojiji asked.
Tiny Tony nodded. “Everything is fine. I just made a call, I have somebody working on it.”
“Do I need to know the details?”
“No, I have it under control.”
“Yes, I do.”
Tiny Tony clenched his teeth. “I said, I do.”
“Angry, are we?” Ojiji said and moved closer to Tiny Tony. “Got something on your mind you would like to get out?”
“Back off.” Tiny Tony said.
There was no need for this confrontation, the guy was just trying to make trouble when there shouldn’t be one. Maybe it was time he showed the guy he wasn’t some pushover.
Ojiji stepped back and laughed.
“I’m just joking man, why so serious?”
Tiny Tony walked away, he had to do something about Martins. He could not keep on working with this idiot just for money.
“Hey.” Ojiji called after him.
Tiny Tony stopped. “What?”
“Whatever you are planning to do, don’t do it.”
Tiny Tony frowned. “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Okay, if you say so.” Ojiji said. “But just so you know, for every action, there will be an equal and opposite reaction.”
Tiny Tony turned around and walked away. He did not care about the threat, he was going to do what he had to do.
Detective Muritala paced in front of the police station, there was a lot on his mind. He had made his peace with the fact that his son was dead and there was nothing he could do about it. No, he had not made his peace with it but he had pushed it to the back of his mind. He had to rescue Shekiya now. He was not sure how but he would. If he lost Shekiya too then he would kill himself, consequences be damned. He shook his head; that would not happen.
“You are still here?”
He looked back and saw the bald officer.
“Yes I am.” Detective Muritala said.
Maybe this man could help, he also had some connection to Martins.
“Can I talk to you?” Detective Muritala said.
The officer came closer.
“You were talking about Martins earlier, what did you have in mind?”
“Now, you’re admitting you have something to do with him?”
“I’m not admitting anything.”
“Then I’m telling you nothing.”
Detective Muritala sighed. He had nothing to lose now. His son was dead, his reputation was gone, what was he protecting now?
“Okay, I admit I had some connection to Martins.” Detective Muritala said. “So, what is your plan?”
The Officer stepped closer to him.
“We are going to break him out.”