(Continued from Sandra III)
Robert is pleased with this job. It is a light job because the woman will almost certainly be unarmed, and she will be alone. This is his chance to impress Jessica. Perhaps she can then see him as more than a business associate. Besides, he really needs the money. Business has been down, so money has been tight. He had started wondering if the national prayer breakfasts were working, making people no longer interested in killing their enemies.
And then Jessica called.
Robert knew Jessica through her ex-boyfriend, Rickie. Rickie was working for a Senator who was running a cartel that did everything from running drugs to smuggling gold to poaching elephants and rhinos for ivory. Rickie was the Senator’s right-hand man and ensured the dark business went on without a hitch. He recruited Jessica into the business because she is cold, emotionless and ruthlessly efficient. She could kill if it came to that, which she did occasionally, but she and Rickie preferred to use Robert’s services to get rid of snitches and competitors for their boss.
Robert charges a premium, but his clients like his services because at the right price he can move to any part of the country to get a job done. Rickie and Jessica even used him once to eliminate a customs officer in Angola. Rickie and Jessica were his best clients then. Jessica was actually a legend. She was known as “the Priestess” in the underworld, and her name sent shivers down the spines of many, the same effect that the name “Bob” and “Rickie” got. Actually, she was even more feared than Rickie because unlike Rickie who was well known, no one really knew her. She operated in the shadows.
But then Rickie was gunned down by a competing cartel and Jessica decided to re-invent herself, which is how she ended up married to a Bishop. Re-inventing herself was not difficult. Very few people in the underworld knew her identity, and she was simply called “the priestess”. To the outside world, she was just a harmless girl that Rickie was sleeping with. Nobody would have imagined that that girl was actually the Priestess.
The name Priestess came about because she would often show herself to people just before Robert pulled the trigger, and performed graphic rituals of torture. The name was coined by Rickie. It is ironic that she is now married to a real man of the cloth. Robert finds himself wondering whether she will show herself tonight just before he kills the girl. Unlikely, he concludes. She is no longer in the underworld. She is no longer the Priestess.
Robert has worked with crooked pastors before, and he knows that if he does this job properly, then Jessica’s husband, the Bishop, will develop an appetite for eliminating people he doesn’t like. Assuming, of course, that he knows what Jessica is doing. There is always a mistress who became pregnant and is threatening to cause trouble. Or a deacon who is becoming bigger than the boss. Or a rival pastor who is wooing away tithers.
Jessica has already sent him the directions to the woman’s apartment, so he gets into a car and drives to Murang’a. It only takes him an hour in his BMW X5. This car is his jewel. It gives him an air of respectability. He bought it when he was given a particularly lucrative job, although dangerous, of taking out a radical Muslim preacher. He was paid by senior government officials. Everyone knew it was someone in government who was behind the assassination, but they did not know who for sure, and they all assumed it was a cop who did it. Now Robert moves around under the guise of a successful businessman, and this vehicle cements his credentials.
He checks in at Nokras Hotel and parks his car there. He goes up to his room and changes into casual wear. He has a backpack, but he conceals the gun in his jacket just in case the guards at the gate decide to check the bag. He knows they cannot frisk a distinguished gentleman like him, especially one who drives a BMW. Then he walks down to the restaurant and orders pilau and beef stew. After eating, he slips out of the hotel on foot. He walks all the way from the hotel to the town’s CBD where he takes a motorcycle to Murang’a University. From there he walks to Sandra’s apartment block which is not far from the University and Jessica’s church. He could have taken a motorcycle from the hotel directly to Murang’a University, but when the news of her death becomes public, someone might track him down. But it is hard to track anyone who takes a motorcycle in the middle of the town, especially if he is wearing a hat that ensures that his face is concealed from the boda boda rider.
The compound does not have a watchman which is a big plus. The less the people that see him, the better. Her apartment, A7, turns out to be on the ground floor. The block is an old building that has only one story. There is security light at the front door, so he slips to the back. The apartment is dark, meaning she is yet to get home.
He removes a pair of gloves from his backpack and puts them on. Then he removes the instruments he uses to pick locks and opens the back door. He switches on his flashlight and studies the layout of the house. He decides that he will hit her when she enters the door, before she switches on the light. Then he will use his flashlight to finish her off and escape through the back. That way, no nosy neighbour will see him. He leaves the back door open so that he can exit quickly.
He removes the silencer from his backpack and attaches it to the gun. Then he positions himself directly in front of the front door, but behind a sofa, just in case she is one of those people who use flashlights to enter their houses at night. He pulls out a mask and puts it on. One can never be too careful in his line of work.
He gets himself into a comfortable position and waits.
After the premarital class, Sandra tells Titus that she doesn’t feel like cooking. Usually, she would have walked from church to her house, which is a stone throw away. Titus would have driven off to his office, then met her later at her house. That way, nobody would suspect that they slept together. But an exception can be made, allowing them to eat out once in a while. He cannot take her to his restaurant because he is aware of the tension between her and Liz. So they agree to have their dinner at Nokras Hotel. He drives to the hotel and parks next to a BMW X5.
“Look at this machine darling, why don’t you get me a BMW for my birthday?” she coos.
“I hear you, baby, I hear you,” he replies, taking her hand and guiding her to the restaurant. The restaurant is crowded, and although they seat across from a lone man who is eating his pilau and beef stew while reading a newspaper, they do not notice him, neither does he notice them. After a while, the man finishes his meal and leaves.
Titus and Sandra are not in any particular hurry. Okay, Titus is, but Sandra is not. They eat slowly while chatting. After the meal, Sandra suggests that they take a room at Nokras and spend the night there.
“That will be so romantic babe. Just you and me, in a hotel room. We could start our honeymoon early,”
“No babe, that is not a good idea. Remember I am a church deacon, and some of the staff here actually fellowship at our church,”
“Can’t people mind their own business?”
“No, they don’t. We spend the night together, and before we even fall asleep half of the town will know,”
“My house then?”
“I think that is the plan,”
Titus would have loved to leave immediately after the meal-he can’t wait to go to bed with Sandra-but he knows she does not like to be rushed. So they order cake and coffee as their dessert. The restaurant is almost deserted when they finally leave. They hop into the Harrier and drive to Sandra’s apartment.
The waiting is the worst part of Robert’s job. He tries to minimize the waiting time by studying the schedules of his targets. He did not have time to study the patterns of this one. Besides, Jessica had explained it to him: she was in church, doing some marriage thing with the Bishop. She would then walk home alone from the church.
He has been here for about two hours. Surely she cannot still be in the counseling session. He is just about to text Jessica when someone turns a key on the keyhole. Robert raises his gun. He has to be very precise so that she does not scream. The last thing he needs is to draw attention to his presence. As a dark figure fumbles looking for the switch, he fires twice and the body collapses.
Too late he discovers that there is a second person outside the door. Jessica had assured him that she would be alone. He swiftly slithers out of the room, out of the back door and finally out of the gate. He knows he now cannot use a motorcycle because whoever was with the girl will call the police soon enough. A lone man walking on the main road might attract the attention of a police van responding to a distress call. So he uses the nearest small path and keeps walking. Eventually he finds himself at Total Petrol Station. From there he walks to Nokras and slips into his room just as the rain starts pounding the roof.
He knows that the hotel will be the last place anyone will be looking for a murderer. People living in these places are supposed to be dignified ladies and gentlemen who cannot hurt a fly. He takes a shower and gets into bed. As he drifts off to sleep, he thinks about Jessica. About the sweet moments they had behind her ex-boyfriend’s back. It started as a casual fling, but he fell in love with her in the process. When her boyfriend died, he had hoped she would date him. But she insisted that they should remain friends with benefits. He was hurt, but he tried his best to hide it.
Then she disappeared and resurfaced as a churchwoman, married to a Bishop. He tried to forget her and almost did until she called this evening. Besides being broke, part of his enthusiasm for this job is trying to win back the affections of Jessica. He probably did not succeed, but if that woman is not dead, he will find her in hospital and finish the job. He cannot let down Jessica…
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