A ChrisEffe Bliss
Chris turned his head and looked at the policeman, and Effe noticed that he was still disoriented with his grief, and his eyes were reddened now as he stared dully at the policeman with the gun.
Effe quickly got out of the car when she saw that the counter on the digitally luminous face of the bomb was counting down three minutes.
“Get down with your hands behind your head, sir!” the policeman screamed as he thumbed back the hammer of his gun. “Last warning!”
Effe’s heart was beating now!
It dawned on her that the policeman was panicking and doing several things wrong! She knew they were all rigged with hidden intercom that summoned other policemen close by, and the man should have called in the emergency immediately!
Secondly, he was too close to the car although he had taken a few precautionary steps backwards. She had seen how fast this Chris could move, and even though the cop had a gun, she would only feel safer if he had Chris in handcuffs.
She breathed with relief when she saw Chris stepping out of the car with his hands behind his neck as instructed.
“Take two steps forward, turn around and get on your knees, sir, with your hands still behind your neck!”
Chris took two steps forward… and suddenly, he was moving in a blur!
It happened so fast, so indescribably fast, that Effe barely saw what actually happened. One moment Chris was lazily taking a step forward, the next moment he had closed the distance between him and the policeman.
The eyes of the cop widened with disbelief and his finger tightened on the trigger, but Chris had already gripped the man’s gun hand with his left hand and angled it upward at the same time that the base of his right hand slammed into the jaw of the cop!
The sound of the gun shattered the air, making pedestrians who had slowed down to watch the spectacle flee with terror. Motorists also sped up. The blow with the base of Chris’ hand was so vicious that Effe saw blood spurting from the policeman’s nose.
The huge cop was already unconscious as Chris ripped the gun from his hand and allowed the man to crash to the ground. Effe made a dash for her car, and his voice reached her, low and fearfully savage.
“Bomb’s still ticking.”
She stopped and looked at him with impotent rage.
As the cop’s body thudded to the ground, Chris moved quickly to Effe’s windscreen and ripped off the ticking device, and then he spun and flung it high over the bridge and into the sky. Effe’s attention was on the little black device as it arced into the sky, and then it exploded with a horribly loud blast followed by a great flash of flame!
Cars came to screeching stops as the ground trembled with the force of the blast! Effe crouched suddenly, her body trembling, absolutely horrified that it had actually been a real bomb!
Chris Bawa had really stuck a damn bomb on her windscreen!
If it had been on her car a second longer, the car would have exploded! Worse, if she had entered her car for the gun it might have exploded and killed her!
With a cry of fury, she straightened up and whirled around!
But Chris Bawa was gone, and so was the cop’s motorbike!
She could barely walk to the car because she was trembling so badly.
But she eventually got in and called for help for the unconscious cop on the ground.
“I’ll find you, Chris Bawa,” she said grimly. “I’ll find you!”
The headquarters of the Special Palace Force was located inside Palace Island, which was a high-security city within the Kingdom of Eden. The island had the huge and majestic palace of the royal family, and space for all other essential-service establishments.
In a way, Palace Island was in itself a country of its own.
Palace Island was at the head of the vast and prosperous Kingdom of Eden.
The SPF headquarters was an incredible flat edifice located about ten kilometres from the palace. It was walled by a twelve-foot transparent and bulletproof circular glass wall.
The ground had artificial and natural glass, trees and water bodies set with an incredible landscaping magic. The flat buildings were architectural triumphs, and it had its own harbour that opened out to the sea.
Effe had been taken to the Central Police station where, shortly afterwards, Paul Blankson and Carl Acquah had arrived and taken her to the sea front, and then they had gone on the amazing SPF special speedboat that had brought them to the headquarters.
She had been taken to her office, which was about three times the space she had occupied at BKI, with furnishing and ultra-modern equipment that had almost made her jaw fall to the ground.
She had then received her credentials which consisted of an SPF senior badge, an official gun, golden pass to the areas of Palace City, including the palace itself, and of course a ‘new senior arrival’ paycheque.
Everything was almost surreal for her, an incredible experience that made her heart finally settle as she felt this was indeed a recognition she had lacked through her career.
Shortly afterwards, Paul had taken her to a huge conference room where almost all the SPF desk staff were gathered, and she had been introduced and welcomed.
Then, she had been taken to the office of Sir Lancelot Agyei.
The kind elderly man, in his proverbial classy black suit and white shirt, welcomed her warmly and commiserated with her for the experience she had had with Chris.
“What I don’t understand is why he chose you, specifically,” he said with raised eyebrows. “I hope he did not cause you physical pain.”
Effe shuddered again as the sound of the bomb exploding in the air came to memory.
“Apart from a bomb threat, he was pretty composed,” she said with an uneasy laugh. “He wanted to know when and how I joined SPF, and he wanted his folder, which he left behind anyway.”
“He did?” Sir Lance asked with a scowl. “Why?”
They were all looking at her, and she shrugged.
“Under normal circumstances, your briefing would have been done with a lie detector, Effe,” Carl said coldly. “That’s the standard procedure.”
Effe looked at him with shock.
“A lie detector?” she repeated, rudely surprised. “But why? I wouldn’t lie to you!”
“It’s not about you lying, Effe,” Sir Lance broke in with a kind smile and took her arm. “Carl, let me handle this, would you?”
The huge agent looked at them grimly, and then he nodded.
“Yes, sir,” he said.
“Good,” Sir Lance said as he looked at him with cold eyes, and then he turned to Effe. “You see, Chris was trying to cause a lot of confusion somewhere along the line, and unfortunately we think he was able to convince some other people of his brain-washed notions, especially women.”
“Chris Bawa will never – I repeat, never – be able to convince me of any notion, good or bad!” Effe said, her furious eyes burning into the cold face of Carl Acquah again. “That murderer killed my brother, and I’ll only breathe freely if he’s behind bars!”
Her passionate outburst made them all quiet for a while, and then Sir Lance nodded and took her arms.
“We know that, Effe, and we trust you,” he said calmly. “That’s why I forbade the use of the lie detector for now. Now, back to our conversation. Why did Chris leave the folder if he demanded it?”
Effe sighed and screwed up her face with a wry smile.
“I guess I blew it, a bit,” she said calmly. “I could not detach my personal emotions from my professional stance because his attitude just made me furious. So, as it turned out, when he asked me to walk away, I lost my cool and asked him if he would walk away if he saw his brother’s murderers on the street. Well, apparently and unbelievably, he did not know about the death of Roland Bawa.”
“I see,” Sir Lance said and scratched his forehead. “I’m beginning to get it now. That must have hit him hard.”
“It did, very badly,” Effe said as he remembered the emotional breakdown of Chris Bawa in the back of her car. “He lost all traction on his emotions. But I don’t understand, sir. How come he did not know?”
“Security reasons, Effe,” Sir Lance said with a disarming smile. “We could not afford a criminal like Prodigal to have access to information, so he was not allowed any bit of information in jail.”
Effe scowled, a little disappointed.
“But, sir, surely that is guaranteed to all prisoners,” she said quietly. “Personal information about family should never be withheld. That’s enshrined in law.”
“Effe, look here –” Carl began belligerently.
“Shut up, Carl!” Sir Lance snapped, in as much the same way as he had snapped at Susan Biko, his voice cold and so sinister that Carl clamped up immediately, and only his jaw worked savagely.
Sir Lance picked up a bottle of water and sipped, and then he threw up his hands in the air.
“Effe, Chris Bawa would have been killed immediately if it had not been the express wish of the queen and princess to keep him behind bars. We could not risk him having information of any sort. Some criminal minds have been known to operate and coordinate their operations even from prison.”
“I understand, sir,” Effe said softly. “Of course, some pertinent information could be kept from him, but the death of a brother he loves so much should not have been kept from him, that’s all I’m saying. And I’m shocked his surviving family members didn’t give him that information.”
There was silence again, and then Sir Lance sighed.
“Effe, we could not take any chances with Prodigal,” he said with a sad smile. “Quite regrettable, considering how he was such a prized possession for the SPF. But, we couldn’t. Knowing Roland had been shot and killed would’ve spurred Chris on to break out of prison no matter what. Secondly, his family could not give him that information because he was not allowed any visitors.”
Effe was appalled suddenly.
“His parents and siblings? His son? And his… girlfriend?”
Sir Lance held out his hands.
“No visitors, Effe,” he said blandly. “None.”
Effe nodded slowly.
“Now I understand his behaviour,” she said, fighting hard to keep the disappointment from her voice. “Well, in that disoriented state of his, he took out the policeman and left without taking the folder.”
“And that’s all?” Sir Lance asked with raised eyebrows. “Nothing else?”
“That’s basically it,” Effe said and brushed a lock of hair behind her ear. “Except a peculiar question he asked me, you know, about something called Taipan.”
She watched them carefully, very carefully, but none of them gave any indication of being familiar with the word. If anything, they all looked puzzled for a moment.
“Taipan?” Sir Lance asked with a slight shake of his head. “That’s a type of snake, isn’t it?”
“A large and extremely venomous Australian snake, yes,” Effe said. “And that’s exactly what I told him, and then he asked for the folder.”
“Paul, Carl, this Taipan mean anything to you two?” Sir Lance asked.
“Don’t mean crap to me,” Carl said.
“First time hearing it,” Paul answered.
“Open a trace on it then,” Sir Lance said grimly. “I want to know if it picks up a trail. Well, Effe, welcome to the SPF. We’re headed to the palace to brief the King and other security capos about this rather unfortunate prison escape, and assure him that he need not fear any threat on his life. You will be coming with us.”
“Yes, sir,” Effe replied. “I’m ready, sir.”
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