A ChrisEffe Bliss
Chris descended to the second floor and went to Junior’s room again. There was pain in his heart as he stared at a framed photo of him and Junior on the table. They had taken that picture on the beach. They were both wearing beach shorts, and Chris had lifted the boy and they were laughing into each other’s eyes.
Roland, Chris’ elder brother, had taken that picture.
Chris picked the framed photograph and deftly drew out the picture, and then he left the room. He descended to the ground floor and went straight to his study.
Elsie-Mina had kept it well, and it was as he had left it five years previously.
It was huge, with a magnificent oak desk and comfortable armchairs in the sitting area. A mini-conference area was near the windows and had an oval glass-topped desk and six hard-backed comfortable chairs around it.
Chris Bawa barely paused as he moved to the back of the library and tapped quickly on the wall at four distinct places that formed a square, and then he tapped three times in the middle of that invisible square.
The sound sensors picked up the rhythm, and a moment later a small square patch of the wall receded inwards and a little bright screen shot out of the wall.
Elsie-Mina and Junior did not know of this; it was known only to Chris.
He quickly entered a complex code on the screen, finishing off with a drawn pattern, and suddenly a door-sized patch of wall slid aside to reveal a secret room beyond.
Chris stepped through, and the wall slid back into place, locking him in.
He quickly moved through the luxuriously-furnished secret apartment beyond, going first to the bathroom. He stripped naked and took a quick bath, and then he moved to the living room portion, activating screens around the walls as he moved.
Chris stopped in front of a mahogany wardrobe and opened it. He selected clothing swiftly, and soon he was dressed in all-black comprising jeans, combats boots, polo-necked T-shirt, gloves, and special night-mode glasses that he fixed in the open neck of the T-shirt.
Chris took a glance at the combat wristwatch and then he stopped in front of a glass counter. Within the velvet interior was an assortment of firearms. He slid the drawer out and quickly picked two handguns, a knife that he strapped to his inner arm, and a few other instruments.
He carried all of them to a low table near the bed in the middle. Carefully, he placed his weapons on the table, and then he moved to the bed.
He was both mentally and physically drained from escaping from prison, plus the deadly poison had really taken a bite at him. It was time to rest because rest was also a weapon. A tired mind in a tired body made mistakes, and mistakes, however slight, sometimes led to violent deaths.
Still dressed, he stretched out on the bed and was asleep almost immediately.
He slept for exactly one hour, and came awake with the strident beeping of the lighted screens on the wall. He got out of bed calmly, his instincts primed as he walked over to the screens.
There were a lot of red dots littered on them, some on the level and one dot above the rests.
These dots represented cars, and at least one helicopter.
He knew they were police and SPF assault vehicles, and of course, the helicopter could only mean authority. They had found out he had escaped, and the hunt was on. The dragnet had now been cast, and he was officially a fugitive.
They were coming for his blood.
Calmly, Chris returned to the table and began to strap on his guns.
“Hoc bellum est,” he said softly. “Semper fi.”
The powerful military helicopter blazed across the night sky of the Kingdom of Eden.
Effe was in the comfortable chopper with Sir Lance and Paul Blankson and two other SPF male operatives. Orders were being given to the ground crew and the local policemen as they converged on the plush house Chris Bawa had shared with his lover, Elsie-Mina, and their young son.
Armoured cars and police sedans were blazing their sirens as they converged on the house from all directions. One of the male SPF operatives was sitting behind a console near the cockpit and looking intently at his screen.
“Visuals coming in, sir!” he shouted. “Three spotted on target!”
“Three?” Sir Lance asked as he spun around from where he had been standing issuing orders on the phone to someone called Carl Acquah. “Three inside the house at this time? Could the little boy be back too?”
Effe was looking on the small screen of a strange but powerful locator in her palm, and she looked up sharply at the elderly man.
“Are you referring to Bawa’s son?” she asked softly.
Sir Lance nodded.
“Yes, little boy left home three years ago and went completely off the grid,” Sir Lance said. “Well, that’s what we told his mother anyway. He turned up at the Zero District where he has been since. If he’s in the house too then he must know his father is back.”
Effe’s intestines quailed.
The Zero District?
That was the deadliest part of the kingdom!
It used to be an amusement park but a bad explosion from a science lab located there had rendered the area unsafe now. People had been evacuated from the district and the place sealed off.
Eventually, the air had cleared but because of health reasons, it had still been closed to the public. However, bad elements in the society had found their way back to the Zero District and made it their hideout because there had been a lot of buildings there, and the police were always reluctant to risk going to the district.
Short of dropping a bomb on them or going in with brute force and killing many, the King had largely left the people of the Zero District alone because they refused to leave.
Frequent police raids took place there to round up criminals or hardened crooks hiding from the law. It had turned into a den of thieves, whores, drug addicts, pimps, hardened murderers, and hardcore criminals.
The fact that a little boy had found his way there to live was horrible , and the knowledge deeply affected Effe. How had it happened? From what she had garnered from the file, Elsie-Mina had been left with money and received allowances from the royal family because they had loved Chris Bawa like a son.
Furthermore, Elsie-Mina was a worker at the Palace Ministries and had a steady income which could have catered for them. Also, Chris’ parents were fairly rich; they were industrialists, and it was rumoured that Brand Bawa, who was Chris’ father, was a very close ally of the king.
Surely, between them, they could have taken care of that boy more than adequately. So, why was the boy growing up in the Zero District?
Before she could ask another question, the helicopter began to descend, and they were informed to put on their seatbelts. The pilot brought it down on a wide, beautiful driveway big enough for four cars to drive abreast.
Red and blue sirens flashed as they unbuckled their seatbelts and got out of the helicopter. The place was filled with dozens of police sedans and SPF vans. The huge wrought iron gates were standing open with many more security personnel, police, and SPF agents milling round.
The gates opened up on the magnificent forecourt of the three-storey house which rose majestically and beautifully into the skyline.
“Before you ask, this house is a gift from Prodigal’s father, or so I gathered,” Sir Lance said. “Beautiful house, isn’t it?”
“Very beautiful,” Effe said disdainfully. “A place to be a husband to his wife and a great father to his son. But, instead, his greed got the better of him. Stupid bastard!”
She noticed the snipers on top of the vans, and some of them at vantage points along the driveway with their powerful long-range guns. Another helicopter was hovering above the building and armed men were dropping onto the roof from rope ladders, and then moving quickly to take up vantage positions with their guns on the alert.
Armed men were crouched behind the police sedans, and many more were moving towards the back of the building. Someone with a hailer was issuing out an ominous warning:
“Chris Bawa! You’re completely surrounded! Come out with your arms high, slowly, and you will not be harmed! This is a final warning Resistance will be met with force!”
“Somebody give me a status!” Sir Lance shouted.
Paul Blankson held up the expensive device in his hand.
“Two hot spots, sir,” he said, his voice puzzled. “One obviously inside the house, another coordinate surely points to the outside of the house.”
“And what happened to the third?”
“Lost, sir,” Paul said. “Just disappeared from the radar.”
“Damn it to hell!” Sir Lance exploded. “Where’s Carl? Get me Carl!”
Effe looked at the Locator in her hand and scowled. Yes, there were only two people on it now, and that was strange. If one had left, it would have left a red trail on her device.
“The third one is still in there,” she said softly. “Hidden, probably.”
“Crap, Effe!” Paul Blankson said irritably. “This is a state-of-the-art locator, based primarily on body heat waves. Believe me, nobody can hide from this!”
Effe raised her eyebrows but said nothing.
There were excited cries from within the house, and the closed-circuit communicator in Sir Lance’s hand buzzed. He put it to his ear.
“Carl, where the heck are you?”
He listened for a while, and then he looked sharply at the house.
“Alright. We’re coming in!” he said.
He lowered the communicator and looked at Effe and Paul.
“They found Kuuku Ampong in the back garden,” he said curtly.
“What the fuck?” Paul asked with shock on his face. “Kuuky? Here? At this time?”
“Who’s he?” Effe asked softly.
“One of our agents, but he is a friend of Chris and Elsie,” Sir Lance said in a grave voice. “Best friends, to be precise.”
“And what’s he doing here at this time of night?” Paul asked.
“Screwing Elsie, what else?” Sir Lance said with disgust. “They found him naked with a broken hip, a dislocated shoulder and a sprained neck, a broken leg, and shattered ribs. Seems Chris surprised them and threw Kuuku off the balcony from the third floor.”
“I’ll be damned!” Paul exhaled. “Jesus!”
“Come on, let’s go in!” Sir Lance said.
Effe and Paul followed him inside the luxurious yard, and moved quickly to the shadows of the main door where medics were attending to a man strapped to a gurney who had an oxygen mask on his face.
A tall, muscular, lithe man in black clothes, black cap and night-vision glasses moved from the gurney and approached them. He was a mini-giant, and his face was cold as he stopped in front of Sir Lance.
“Carl, what do you have?” Sir Lance asked sharply.
The huge man’s eyes were fixed coldly on Effe.
“Is she cleared?” he asked in a cold, big voice.
“Oh, yes, this is Effe Kedem, new on the team, Forensics,” Sir Lance said quickly. “Effe, this is Carl Acquah, Senior Field Agent, SPF. You two will be working closely together on this Prodigal case. Give me intel, Carl.”
“Kuuky is out now,” the big man said quickly. “They sedated him. But I questioned him. Prodigal surprised them, caught them making love and threw Kuuky off the balcony in anger.”
“Jesus!” Effe gasped. “And Elsie? Is she okay?”
Just then the front door opened and Carl spun around with uncanny speed, plucking his gun from the holster at his waist and pointing it at the door. Effe marvelled at his movements; indeed, these people were highly-trained and very lethal.
Several armed men were also shouting and had pointed their guns at the door.
There was a beautiful well-built woman in the doorway wearing a belted white gown. She looked very groggy and held up a hand against the glare of the powerful flashlights turned on her. Effe noticed that the woman looked very distraught indeed, and her beautiful face was puffy, indicative of the fact that she had been crying.
“Step forward slowly, ma’am!” Carl said in a grim voice. “Are you alone?”
Effe glanced at the locator in her palm; the glowing spot showed Elsie was alone.
“She’s alone,” she said calmly.
“Step forward, ma’am!” Carl repeated and took a menacing step forward.
“Relax, would you?” Effe said sharply. “The woman is shocked and disoriented!”
She moved quickly past Carl and put gentle hands on the woman’s shoulders.
“It’s okay,” she said gently. “It’s alright. Please, come with me.”
Elsie-Mina stepped forward listlessly and looked at Effe with extremely sad eyes, her despondent expression made worse by the harsh floodlights on her face.
“Where’s Chris?” she asked in a trembling voice. “Have you arrested him again? Where’s Chris, please? Oh, where’s Chris? He needs to forgive me! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry, Chris!”
She was trembling, and Effe felt sudden compassion for her; obviously, this woman was in a state of great shock.
“It’s alright,” Effe said gently. “We’re trying to find him, and you’ll probably see him. Can you tell me the last time you saw him?”
Elsie-Mina shook her head numbly.
“He… he was leaving me!” she said in her strange unsteady voice. “I was… I was begging him, telling him how sorry I was, and then I woke up on the bed with noise and lights… Chris, where’s Chris, please?”
And then she burst into tragic tears.
Effe looked on, unable to move, shocked by such obvious distress and wondering what could have caused this woman to be in a state like this. Thankfully, two paramedic ladies took Elsie-Mina’s hand and led her away.
Carl Acquah, still holding his gun, looked at Sir Lance.
Sir Lance, who had been looking at Elsie-Mina, rubbed his forehead absentmindedly and nodded.
“Breach,” he said. “But be careful. He’s dangerous.”
Carl’s face was grim as he moved forward through the door.
He was followed by several armed men with bullet-proof shields and high-calibre guns.
“We’re too late,” Paul Blankson said as he glanced at the locator. “No more dots. He’s gone.”
“He’s still in there,” Effe said icily.
“Oh, cut that crap, would you?” Paul flared up. “What kind of device are you using anyway? If Chris is anywhere near, within a thousand miles radii, he would show up here on my locator!”
“Your locator can be blocked, Paul, with the right source of heat waves,” Effe said calmly and showed the small locator in her palm to him. “This might not be as expensive or as powerful as the one you are holding, but this little article cannot be blocked because it does not use heat waves. It doesn’t cover a thousand miles but it can see through all barriers! There were three people in here! Kuuku, Elsie and Chris! Their movements are locked in here! See the blue traces? It shows two blue traces, for Elsie and Kuuku! No blue trace for Chris! That guy is still inside this building somewhere!”
“Stop the arguments, you two,” Sir Lance said curtly. “If he’s in here, we’ll find him!”
As they flooded the house, Effe entered more carefully. She was amazed at the sheer luxury she saw. This was almost like a mansion, an amazing display of class and wealth, certainly too lavish for a family of just three.
But she did not allow the finery to distract her as she moved along the halls and corridors, sorting out angles and planes. She moved quickly to the third floor and took out the layout there, and then moved more leisurely down to the second floor and finally the ground floor.
She was oblivious of police and SPF personnel around her as they did a thorough search of the rooms and huge land outside.
Effe eventually found her way to the huge, beautiful study of Chris Bawa. She fell in love with it immediately. The glass bookcases, the exquisite furniture, the desk, reading area, the aquarium that had no fishes in it. Her eyes scanned everything.
She was seated at the desk and browsing through a huge volume of a geographical masterpiece on the Kingdom of Eden when the door opened and Sir Lance walked in with Paul, Carl, and two other armed men.
Sir Lance looked extremely tired as he walked to the desk and stood looking down at Effe.
“Paul was right, dear,” he said calmly. “He’s gone, somehow. Chris is good at that, you know, one of the best chameleons. He’s a master in disguises and can slip through any net.”
“We better regroup,” Carl said in a voice strained with fury, and Effe looked at him with curiosity. It seemed to her that this Carl Acquah giant had a real personal interest in Chris Bawa.
“Effe, get up and let’s go, would you?” Paul said impatiently. “You called it right, he was here, but he’s gone now. Any pointers on where to look next?”
Effe gently closed the book but made no attempt to stand up.
“Chris Bawa hasn’t left,” she said calmly. “He’s still here.”
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