Romance

The Narrow Path IV-By Edward Maroncha

(Continued from The Narrow Path III)

“Let’s get out of here,” Lilly says suddenly.

“What? Why?”

“I don’t trust the guy who has just stepped out.”

“Which guy?”

“There was a guy in the table next to ours, and he has left very suddenly. My instincts tell me that he is up to no good.”

“What has he done?”

“I don’t know, but my intuition tells me not to trust him. The Bishop is not a good person, okay? Maybe he even has people following you to know who you are talking to. Please trust me on this.”

“Okay. Say I trust you, how do we get out of here? We go out the same way he has gone? What if he is waiting for us outside?”

“Follow me.”

Lilly opens her purse and places two thousand shillings inside the bill wallet and then rises from her seat, prompting Caleb to follow her. She goes straight to the kitchen, smiles at the bewildered cooks and waiters and heads for the staff exit. They have just reached that exit when a woman screams. That scream is followed by another scream, and suddenly there is a pandemonium inside the restaurant as people start running. Lilly opens the exit door and quickly leads Caleb to a small street that is at the back of the building.

“Let’s get out of here quickly before those people find this exit.”

They quickly weave their way through a series of back streets before finally finding themselves in River Road. They have just rounded a corner and crossed to another tiny street when a gunshot sounds above the din of the screams.

“I can bet you my last coin that that shot was meant for one of us,” Lilly says. She is walking rapidly, almost too rapidly for the physically unfit Caleb, her high heels notwithstanding. They crisscross streets until they finally get to a taxi rank in a street that Caleb does not immediately recognize. They hop into the first taxi on the line and Lilly orders the driver to take them to Ngong. They negotiate quickly and finally agree on the fare.

“Do not use Ngong Road,” Lilly orders the driver.

“What?”

“I said do not use Ngong Road.”

“I have charged you with Ngong Road in mind.”

“Stop sweating about money. I want you to take Lower Kabete Road, go all the way to King’eero, take the road to Kikuyu, connect to Karen and then head to Ngong.”

“That is a long route madam. I…”

“I will pay double what we have agreed upon. Just drive.”

                                                            *

Hakim pulls a mask over his face, wears a pair of gloves and corks his gun. He is not in a hurry. This restaurant has only one exit, which is also the entrance, so if those two decide to leave, they will have to pass by where he is standing. When he is ready, he bursts into the restaurant, going straight to the table Caleb and his woman had been occupying. To his surprise, they are not there. But how could they have left? He was watching the door, even when he was talking to the Bishop on phone. The screams of women in the restaurant are what bring him to the present. Suddenly there is a stampede going on around him.

He is confused at first, but then he suddenly realises that he is holding a gun, and that he is wearing a mask. His confusion over the disappearance of that man Caleb and his mistress has only taken thirty seconds or so, but it has cost him greatly. With the confusion going on, it is difficult for him to focus. He fires a shot through the window and orders everyone to be quiet. He expected everyone to cower under the tables, but the gunshot only adds fuel to the stampede.

Even the male waiters who had tried to put a brave face start running. But Hakim notices that they are not running out through the exit. They are running towards the kitchen. Then it dawns on him. Of course there is a staff exit, and that is probably how Caleb and his mistress disappeared. He makes his way there, pushing and shoving people who do not seem to notice him in their attempt to flee away from him. Some of the diners have realised that there is a quick way out and they are also pushing their way to the kitchen.

Hakim pushes his way to the staff exit. He is not familiar with this part of town, but he knows that the exit will either lead him to a side street, to an indoor parking lot or to the heart of the building. That is simply how most buildings are designed. Hakim is about to push through the crowd when he feels a sharp pain at the back of his head and everything turns black.

                                                                     *

When Hakim regains consciousness, he is in some sort of warehouse, surrounded by a gang of men. Six of the men are large, sturdily built men. They are all dressed in sweatpants and vests, revealing their taught muscles. The seventh man is short and fat, and Hakim can’t help thinking that he looks like an inflated ball. But he knows that this man is the boss. He is dressed in a navy blue suit, a white shirt, a maroon tie, brown leather shoes and a maroon fedora hat. He has a tooth pick in his mouth, probably because he saw that in the movies and he thinks it makes him look tough. Hakim doesn’t know any of them, so he doesn’t understand why he has been brought here. If this suited man was not in this place, Hakim would have assumed that Caleb is the one who has hired the goons. Not that that is not a possibility still, but the chances are slim. If Caleb paid these people to kill him, their boss would not have bothered to attend this meeting. He would simply have collected the money and sent his minions to do the killing.

“Who sent you to ruin my business?” the man asks.

Hakim is confused.

“I am sorry chief, but I don’t know what you are talking about. If I was in your business, then it was purely by accident.”

Hakim has been a goon for close to ten years, and he knows that these bosses have very fragile egos. One wrong word and these goons will descend on him with blows. He has done the same countless times at the behest of the Bishop.

“I really don’t have time for games, young man. What were you doing scaring my customers in the restaurant?”

“I am sorry chief. That was not my intention. But I was under instructions from my chief to destroy two rats that are ruining his business. Unfortunately they got away.”

“I lost a lot of money today, and to make it worse, cops are now sniffing all over my affairs.”

“I am sure my chief would be willing to compensate you.”

“That would be great. If he does that, then I can help him get the rats he wants, at an extra fee. I know where to find them.”

A call is quickly made to the Bishop, and the two “chiefs” come to an agreement.

“You said you will help me with my problem,” the Bishop says before hanging up.

“Of course. That girl is called Lilly Waasi. She lives in Ngong. My men will check there first. Even if she is not there, we will find her wherever she is. My network is wide, and I can assure you that she and her companion will be found within two hours.”

“That will be great, and you will be compensated for your trouble.”

“How do you want them? Dead or alive?”

“I want them dead.”

“You will get proof of death before nightfall.”

(This is the last free part of the story. To read the rest of the story and find out what happened to Lilly and Caleb, follow the instructions below to grab your copy for only Kshs. 100)

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/crosses-clouds-faith-christ-god-2713356/

                                                             *

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 The next story begins on Tuesday. See you all then.

 –Edward.

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