Black Cartel Ṽ “The Rift within the Family”

   Black Cartel Ṽ “The Rift within the Family”

Maria’s head felt 10 times heavier, her vision was blurred. She tried in vain to make out the complete features of the men standing before her, the only source of light in the room shone directly above her head. Her mind went from her immediate surrounding to the events of the last few hours of her life. Did Smart set her up? Was he abducted too? It all seemed to happen so fast. She had just entered Bobby’s room where she left Smart an hour ago, to her surprise two men awaited her. Before she could reach for her gun, one of them spontaneously made a dashed for her knocking her to the ground. He placed a damp handkerchief over her nose that was all she could remembered. She didn’t know where she was or who had abducted her, if only she could see the bastard and spit on his face. This wasn’t her war, but Maria was now in the middle of it. She kept banging her feet on the cold floor, she wanted the cello tape placed over her mouth taken off, she couldn’t breath properly but they didn’t seem to notice she existed along with them in the room. Feeling totally defeated and exhausted she bowed her head and drifted into dreamland once more.
……………..
That same night, Shadow was summoned to the Don’s house. The Don wasn’t his usually calm self, fear was clearly written on the wrinkles lined on his forehead. The Don almost screaming said to Shadow, That Monster just erased Lanre’s family. The Heartless son of a bitch murdered them all without remorse, that’s why I summoned you Shadow. I want him dead as soon as possible, Shadow who sat opposite the Don, was very calm and relaxed, he just kept stroking his beards. The Don’s phone rang interrupting his speech, the man on the other end told the Don “We have the white girl sir, but the boy escaped” The Don fuming said how the hell did he slip through your fingers Jumbo? Find out what you can from her but don’t hurt her. Yes sir! Jumbo answered.
Is that something I can take care of? Shadow asked casting a glance at the Don, not your piece of cake Shadow she is just an errand girl of a Mexican drug baron Don juan the Don replied. How is she connected Shadow asked getting interested. Don Juan was Chief Edet’s major supplier and now this lady seems to be asking a lot of questions. Kill her right away! Shadow said in a flat tone. Why? Asked the Don, That would leave Don Juan clueless lest he smells something Shadow warned, standing up to take his exit and he added hey Don I think your family should take a vacation until this war dies down.
…………………..
Smart yawned hungrily, it had been 2 hours since he left the shores of Port Harcourt and Maria is yet to call him. Something was definitely wrong, either she had been shot or abducted. He hoped the latter was the case, he now regretted not calling her before running off in a panic. He had fled the moment Mike told him of some strangers he noticed at the junction leading up to Bobby’s house. They had asked a friend of his the right direction to the flat, not suspecting foul he had directed them. Mike called immediately they drove away, without a second thought Smart left the house in flash taking an opposite direction. At the park he had called Maria severally but her phone was off, save personal affliction he cared less if she was shot, after all she was the Col’s partner or mistress he wasn’t sure which. The sound of his ring tone revived him to complete consciousness, Maria he heard an inner voice call out. He had hoped to see her name on his phone screen but it was a foreign number calling, filled with curiosity Smart picked.
Don Juan on the line came the voice from the other end, I believe your Smart? Panicking a little Smart said, I believe there is a mix up somewhere, yes I am Smart but I don’t have an affliction with any Don Juan! My business is with Maria I want to know her immediate location Don Juan replied. With a tone of regret and panic Smart said Maria is no longer with me, we parted 2 hours ago. She was on her way to meet you same 2 hours ago the Don said. Confused and surprised Smart said I believe she was abducted by the Cartel, Don Juan paused a little then said I will make enquires but call me upon any new development and the line went dead, Smart exhaled hard and looked around him all the other passengers were happily dozing even the few that were awake like him seemed calm and relaxed.
…………..
At first sight of twilight the following morning, Lanre having deposited the bodies of his family members in the mortuary and secretly arranged for his daughter to stay with a relative till he returns. Like a cat walked out of his house as if his shadow was chasing him, he sank into his car seat then signaled the police kept as guard to prevent further attack to come over, Officer I am going out of town for a few days lock down the house while I am gone with a shaky finger he turned the ignition of his car. Soft delicate yellow rays shooting fort from beneath the fluffy cloud was giving birth to a dawn. Lanre was constantly gazing at the rear mirror in fear, taking strict note of the traffic of Obelende street, Satisfied nobody followed Lanre stole into the street that lead to his office, driving as fast he could as was desperate to leave Lagos before sunrise.
When Lanre opened the door of his office he wished he had not, just the one person he dreaded was sitting on his executive seat pointing a pistol at him. I know you will come for these, Lone Shark said waving a large brown envelope with his left hand. Please sit down Lanre! He continued we should have a little chat, feeling defeated Lanre sank into the leather seat opposite Lone Shark who was still pointing a pistol to his face with his right hand. Please have mercy on me Lone, don’t kill me you can have all the money Lanre pleaded. So we have been murdering people just because of money Lone Shark asked waving his gun at Lanre’s face. I am sorry Shark things just got out of hand Lanre pleaded. Things got out of hand and my brother, your own boss is dead Lone Shark said. Shark please can we forget the past and look towards a new future, you lost a brother and I lost my family fair enough Lanre chipped in. Lone Shark who was irked said in a cold voice maybe I should make you a part of that past too. Killing me would change nothing Lanre said in defense. Tell me who pulled the trigger on my brother and I would think about letting you live Lone Shark said. Lanre eager to accept the life line said “don’t worry Shark I would tell you everything you need to know”
……………………
The Don sat with the bosses of the five top cartel families in Nigeria, he hosted them in his garden it was a secret meeting a sort of executive council of The Black Cartel Family. The men included Chief Jaja the newest member of the forum who made his fortune when militants held the nation at its throat, he had been the major weapon dealer in the whole of Niger delta area. Others included Chief Obi a heavy set man who controlled the whole of south east, then they duo of Alhaji Gumel and a man who everybody called Mallam controlled the weaponry and drug supply to the north. Chief Donald was the oldest member of the five, he had seen it all from the 70s till now he dealt drugs but not so much weaponry. His involvement in every cartel meeting was mostly out of royalty. Alhaji Gumel spoke first, we all know there has been a lot going on behind the scene since the hit on Chief Edet and we seek answers to who is responsible directing his request to no one in particular but was staring at the Don. Chief Obi spoke next, Chief Edet was a full member of the Black Cartel family, and it is only fair we look into the matter immediately. Chief Jaja spoke next, I heard his PA is planning a take over and so the hits on the family. Two days ago the lawyer’s family was massacred Mallam added! Chief Donald chipped in almost immediately, by whom? The Don who has been watching them all along without saying a word said, one man is responsible for all the killings! We all know Lone Shark the younger brother to Chief Edet, he is on a killing spree and none of us is safe till his capture. Chief Obi spoke again, any motives? We are yet to find out but revenge on every member of these forum is highly regarded the Don replied him curtly then continued we all have been friends with Chief Edet over the years but also his death is good for our business, we know he was planning the biggest importation ever which could run us all out of business. Mallam making a gesture with his hand said, let’s then kill this Lone Shark and get on with business. They all simultaneously agreed to kill Lone Shark, Shark was now a wanted man on every Cartel hit-list which included the police and military. To the future, the Don made a toast “to the future the all chorused”
………………….
Lone Shark wore the disguise of a doctor when he slipped into the back seat of Chief Donald’s car. The ageing man was seated on the other end smoking a fat cigar. They shook hands, with a broad rare smile Shark said long time god father, what brings you to Lagos at this time of the year. Business these days have no season my son the Chief responded. He continued, with you going on a killing spree every cartel house is irked and wants your head blown apart. “Shark blowing hot” Godfather that is nonsense not after what happened to my brother, they should be sympathizing with me and helping me foil the killers. The Chief responded don’t you get it Shark? Your brother was going to be the new Don, so his death wasn’t necessary bad news. Power and money can reduce a man to a dog, but you sure know where my loyalty lies. Thank you godfather said Lone Shark, I now know that the Don killed my brother with the help of our PA “Lanre”, I need to find the man who pulled the trigger. The old man stroked his beards before he spoke again such high profile job, definitely Shadow. How do I find Shadow? Lone Shark inquired with a tone of desperation and lastly godfather I would need some ammunition.
………………..
A picture of Lanre shot through the head appeared on every leading tabloid in the country. He was sitting on his executive leather chair and was wearing his trademark long sleeve white collar shirt folded to the elbow. On the media the motive and the killer remained a myth, while within the crime world a bubble was readying to burst Lone Shark remained the sole target. Shadow stared at the picture one more time and flung it across the room, Son of a bitch he muttered. The sound of gunfire rattled the air, Shadow quickly drew his pistol and made first for the window. He lifted the curtains and peeped the two men that guided the entrance to his apartment were lying down stone dead. Another bullet came, flying towards him shattering the window panel, Shadow rolled on the floor to the other side of sitting room. Next was a grenade, the effect shook the building at its foundation and Shadow’s gun from his hand. He was still trying balance when Lone Shark pounced on him, landing him heavy blows all over his face. With all his might Shadow threw Shark off him, he made a quick dive through the shattered window Shark staggering up ran after him but he was gone, the sound of police siren was now growing louder and louder. Lone Shark jumped through the window and vanished too.
………………
To Maria’s relief the tape was peeled off her mouth, just be a good girl and this would be over soon the man whom seemed in charge told her. Desperate to understand her situation Maria started to chatter, are you going to kill me? The huge man smiled and shook his head then said, if the boss wanted you dead you would be already. We just want information, Information about what? Maria asked baffled. Lone shark the man said almost in whisper, confused Maria said, never heard of that name. The man then said you will be in here for a long time and probably not make it out alive, That startled Maria she then said, I know someone who might know, we are getting somewhere the man said, I need to place a call she told him, say the digits he told her, no I need my phone he doesn’t pick unknown numbers she protested. He gave her the phone, she placed a call to Don Juan and said a couple of words in Mexican language, the man snatched the phone from her and was saying hello into the mouth piece but the line was dead. Maria was relieved Don Juan knew she was abducted now. The man tried questioning but she remained mute refusing to even look at him. Frustrated he left her alone.
……….
The sun had already shown its full face when Smart alighted from the bus, Lagos was at the peak of its bustle and hustle people walked to and fro in quick zig zag secession not caring who brushed the others shoulder or stepped on another’s feet. Everybody was in a hurry to get to somewhere, Smart called Lone Shark cell phone like the tenth time still no answer frustrated he checked into a cheap motel. He was coming out of shower when his phone rang, it was Don Juan again! He swallowed hard before picking the call, Maria is being held hostage by some thugs of a certain Don in port Harcourt and I want you to help rescue her the Don commanded Smart. I am not part of Cartel Don Juan and this is way bigger than me Smart replied. Don’t worry about the cartel you are not going alone, Chief Donald would make the necessary arrangement I would send him your number just make sure Maria is safe and Smart after this I promise to make you a rich man and the line went dead, Smart buried his face in his palms picturing the bloody days that lay ahead.

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