A ChrisEffe Bliss
There were three black, sleek Mercedes in the executive parking lot. Three bulky SPF agents in black suits and dark sunglasses were standing stiffly beside them.
“You’re coming with me, Effe,” Sir Lance said brusquely as he indicated one of the cars. “We’ll meet up with the boys about three kilometres from here. Let me have your car keys, please. An agent would drive it home for you.”
Effe nodded, still too stunned to take it all in at once.
She sat in the Mercedes with Sir Lance as one of the agents sat behind the wheel, and the Mercedes moved off with a wail of sirens.
They moved swiftly through the relatively free traffic. Sir Lance picked up a huge black metallic folder with a security lock and deftly inputted the code on its left flap.
A tiny red light on the top left-hand of the electronic folder blinked three times and went out, and then a green light on the right corner beeped once and came on.
He handed the folder to Effe.
“I guess you would look at that later in detail,” he said in a tired voice and rubbed his forehead almost absent-mindedly. “This is your first assignment, as I said. There might be no need for that folder, I guess, but I don’t want to leave anything to chance. The security code on that is six-nine-two-seven-three-one-five-eight-four-one-zero.”
“I got it,” Effe said softly as she stared at the bold red words on the back of the folder:
“You won’t write it down?” Sir Lance asked casually. “That folder will automatically lockdown every three minutes of inactivity.”
Effe flipped the folder open with a faint smile.
“No need, sir,” she answered. “Already got the code memorized.”
Sir Lance raised his eyebrows, and then he suddenly leaned forward and pushed a red knob at the foot of the electronic folder and immediately the green light went off after three blinks, and the red light came on again, effectively locking the folder.
The little rectangular panel in the middle came on with a message:
Special Palace Force
Top Level Authorization Required
Enter Code for Access
Effe punched in the code casually.
The red light blinked off, and the green light beeped on again.
“Nice,” Sir Lance said with an impressed nod. “Very nice. You come as advertised.”
Effe flipped the cover off, and the screen within showed the face of a man.
She scowled slightly.
The face that was staring out at her was the face of a very handsome man, an incredibly handsome man, to be exact. Young, about thirty years, with neat hair, thick eyebrows, a hint of a moustache and clean-shaven jowls.
His eyelashes were long, almost feminine, his lips full and beautiful, his nose straight, almost aquiline, and a hint of dimples in his cheeks. It was the most symmetrically beautiful face of a male human she had ever seen.
The eyes, though, were dark and hooded, almost lazy, but she could almost feel their penetrative steel pining her in her seat. He was wearing a black round-necked T-shirt.
The image swivelled with moderate speed to show his side view, and then retreated to show a full-length image of him. He was in dark jeans and boots. A tall man, well-built, powerful and so extremely handsome.
The image zoomed in to a half-portrait showing him chest up, and below that were the words:
Chris Eden Bawa
SPF Code: 002
“One of yours,” Effe stated before going to the next page. “And he went rogue?”
Sir Lance sighed deeply and looked out of the window at the beautiful city flashing by.
“Chris was like a son to me, Effe,” he said quietly. “I started SPF with him. He was our first agent, and there had never been any like him. The perfect machine, trained to the finest edge, capable and efficient. Irreplaceable, I daresay.”
“Was?” Effe asked softly. “You refer to him in the past tense?”
Sir Lance sighed again.
“He was in prison, Effe. Has been in prison for the last five years. Apparently, he fought with another inmate yesterday. Sadly, that inmate had a poisoned knife, and ended up killing both of them. That poison is a very lethal one, able to infect and spread quickly because its base origin is viral, and could be airborne if not handled correctly. The prison commander, therefore, ordered the bodies to be cremated immediately.”
Effe stared at the image again, almost with regret.
“And so, he’s dead?” she asked quietly.
Again, Sir Lance glanced out of the window.
He sighed and laced his hands together.
“That’s what the prison wants to tell us,” he said at length. “But I find it hard to believe that, Effe. Chris is a machine, a terrible and efficient man. He wrote the training manual of the SPF. It will almost be impossible to kill him.”
“But surely, if he was attacked by some sort of biological weapon, as you said, then there’s no chance for him.”
Sir Lance nodded.
“That is what I want you to find out, Effe,” he said quietly. “Our forensic experts went there, and confirmed that indeed, Chris is dead. But I want to be sure, and so I need a second opinion.”
Effe stared at the elderly man for a while, and then she looked at the portrait of the rogue agent known as Prodigal.
“Seems the possibility of this Chris Bawa being alive is very unsavoury to you, sir,” she remarked quietly.
Sir Lance chuckled mirthlessly and fixed his cold eyes on her.
“Unsavoury?” he asked softly. “That’s an understatement, Effe. It really terrifies me! You see, Chris was the personal bodyguard of King Henry Okraku. They loved each other so much, tremendously. You’re aware the king and his wife have a daughter but no son, right?
Effe nodded sadly.
“Yes, and it seems we’re on course to have our first princess ruling the kingdom if his only daughter succeeds him.”
“Well, I can confirm to you that there was a time the king strongly wanted his daughter, Princess Gwendoline, to marry Chris so that he would be king.”
Effe’s eyes widened.
“Really?” she whispered with shock. “It didn’t work out?”
“No, it didn’t,” Sir Lance said calmly. “Chris already had a child with a woman called Elsie-Mina, a childhood sweetheart. They had a son. It is all in there.”
“Son, childhood sweetheart, but not married?” she asked with raised eyebrows. “If he and this Elsie-Mina were not married, then surely, he could have married the princess, couldn’t he?”
“He could, especially in the case where his relationship with Elsie wasn’t sailing well. But he gave his word to Elsie to be with her for as long as she needed him. That vow was made when they were both sixteen years.”
“Goodness!” Effe whispered with a mixture of shock and frustration. “And he kept his word? Why didn’t he marry Elsie-Mina then?”
“I think the plan was for them to get married after Elsie gave birth,” Sir Lance said carefully. “But it was around that time that he met Princess Gwendoline and the royal family. By the time Elsie gave birth, Chris and the Princess loved each other. But Elsie would not let him go. She made him stick to his promise.”
“That’s madness!” Effe cried and shook her head. “And so, even in the face of that blackmail, he stayed with her?”
“With her and their son, yes. That’s Chris, Effe. He had his own set of principles, and stuck to them. As long as Elsie wanted him, he stayed, keeping his promise to her, but he did not marry her because he was really in love with Princess Gwendoline who tried to make him see that he was being blackmailed, but he wouldn’t budge.”
“Wow. Quite interesting, quite some man, this Chris,” Effe said as she stared at the face of that handsome man in the digital folder. “So, what happened? This Chris is not someone I remember seeing anywhere before, ever.”
“He was a shadow, my dear,” Sir Lance said. “Because of his position as an ace SPF agent and the king’s personal friend and protector, we tried to keep him out of the light and make his existence as secret as possible.”
“If he was that close to King Henry, why then was he in prison?” Effe asked, intrigued.
Sir Lance shook his head sadly.
“Same old tale of greed, my dear,” he said. “The boy was intoxicated with wealth and power. He let himself be bought by foreign imperialists who had tried for many years to topple King Henry because the king wouldn’t bow to their pressures. They wanted changes in policies, changes in our style of rulership, and above all, access to the rich resources of the Kingdom of Eden. So, they passed it through Chris. In exchange for all the riches he could dream of, he agreed to assassinate King Henry Okraku.”
“Oh, my goodness!” Effe whispered with horror as her mouth almost fell open. “That is horrible!”
Sir Lance nodded.
“Horrible, yes… evil, yes. And he would have succeeded, but the Queen overheard him making the plans, luckily, and she informed the king. We were informed, and laid a trap for him. He was caught in the act when he entered the king’s bedroom with a gun. Short trial. He should have been killed, but the royal family could not bring themselves to order his death, especially Princess Gwendoline and Queen Hannah. He received life imprisonment, and had just served five years when the incident I told you about happened.”
“And you think he would still try to slay the king if he is indeed still alive?” Effe asked hoarsely.
Sir Lance sighed and rubbed his forehead again.
“Chris never leaves an assignment unfinished,” he said quietly. “Before being imprisoned, he vowed to come back, and finish off the king, and every member of the SPF that had a hand in his capture, myself included. Yes, I believe that if Chris is still alive, he’s going to cause a lot of mayhem in KOE.”
“That one man?” Effe asked and shook her head. “We have the security agencies, the police, army… Lord, sir, we have the whole works! Surely, they could capture Chris easily if he’s still alive!”
“No, they can’t, Effe,” he said grimly. “Chris is like a ghost, and when he is on the scent, nothing stops him. Peruse the folder, Effe, and fast forward to the train derailment in the KOE seven years ago, Effe. Subway train 777 which never reached its destination.”
Effe gasped and for a moment she could not speak!
She dropped the electronic folder on the seat beside her and coughed as she struggled for breath. There was a pain in her heart and agony in her spirit. Sir Lance was calling her name over and over, telling her to relax.
“Stop the car!” Effe hissed with agony.
“What?” Sir Lance asked.
“Stop the damn car!” Effe screamed in a distressed voice.
Sir Lance spoke sharply and the car slowed down as the driver brought it to a stop.
“Effe, are you okay?” he asked with concern.
Effe was sweating profusely. She opened the door and jumped out, moving to the side of the beautiful street and putting her laced hands on her head as she fought for control from the terrible agony engulfing her.
A moment later, Sir Lance came to stand beside her and offered her a handkerchief.
She took it gratefully and wiped the sweat from her face.
“The derailment of Subway Train 777 seven years ago killed one hundred and seventy people,” Effe said softly, still unable to breathe well.
Sir Lance nodded.
“It did,” he said grimly. “Chris had by then started his terrorism antics in a bid to bring confusion and fear on KOE, and make the king unpopular to the international community. He and his cohorts bombed buildings and crashed aeroplanes! He was a heinous criminal!”
Effe looked at the elderly man, and there was fury and disgust in the depths of her eyes now.
“My brother, my only brother, Jeff Kedem, was on that train!” she said fiercely. “He died, mangled very badly like the others, and they could not be separated. They were buried in mass graves! Are you telling me this Chris Bawa was responsible for that derailment?”
Sir Lance nodded sadly.
“Yes, he was responsible.”
Tears came to Effe’s eyes and spilled down her cheeks.
“Then Chris Bawa murdered my only brother!” she whispered, and she wept, and through the pain and agony of remembering the painful death of her brother, Effe’s heart soared high with great hatred for the murderer called Chris Eden Bawa, codename Prodigal.
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