Ayo watched from a distance. His eyes brooded Afolabi as he tilted his head sideways, and watched the man's thick moustache without distraction. His hands held his knee and after a while, his sweaty palm found it hard to fit as he listened to Afolabi lay out details to him. He then moved his hands onto the desk and forked his fingers into one another. 

He reclined on the armchair that held him again. The soft foam behind him comfortably held him. 


"What do you think?" 

Ayo looked straight, and flicked like he had not been listening. He had, but not in the last 20 seconds and all of a sudden, he felt like he had been away all the while. He picked up himself with a shrug, planning to start with  stammering lips and a show of unseriousness.  

"Em!" Ayo touched his forehead. 

He was a policeman for Christ's sake. Afolabi wasn't forgetting that, but he was keen about the help Ayo must offer. 


"You won't turn down my help right? I need the boy safe." Afolabi said again. 

A glassware was close by, in the reach of Afolabi's hands. It was an award with his name on it. He picked it as he waited for Ayo's reply. 

This was complex but it was what Ayo wanted. He wanted the boy safe. He needed to know what was going down in the hole. 

The innocent lives that had gone were far too many  bills to be paid for a debt of wrongdoing. Whatever the case might be, he felt three murders were outrageous. 


"You haven't said a thing!" Afolabi yelled out of patience. He let out a brief cough as he adjusted his red tie, which was taking root at his neck and stretching down.

Ayo let out a wide smile to keep down the pressure in him. He was going to ask Afolabi to give him time to think about it, but obviously, the man was acting like time had turned to gold. 

"I know what you have down in your mind. You won't help me." Afolabi began slowly again. 

Ayo drafted a negative nod. He took his hands in a fold across his chest, and heaved a deep sigh of relief in contrast. 

"I don't know if I'd be able to help you, but I will get across to you." 

"Fine then." Afolabi replied. 

"Would you even want me to force you into this? I doubt it. I hate forcing people into things." He smiled. 

"I could have forced you over her, but I came through your friend first." Afolabi adjusted his sleeves as he spoke. "That you see there my friend, is called courtesy."

"But you still had me over without her express permission." 

"She is on her way."

"Over ten minutes now."

"You will see her soon."

"Like how soon?" Ayo asked. 


Afolabi stopped talking as he played with his pen. He was a bit glad he was on talking terms with Ayo now. The conversation overtime had changed and they were getting along. 

It stopped there. The door flew open with the two men having their attention thrown at the doorway. Whoever it was must have been checked by the security protocols. It could be no one else but Precious. 

It was her. That classic posture as she stood in the doorway with the frown, made it clear she was up for war with the boss, and that it would be pushed too far. 

She stood, wasting seconds, and slammed shut the door with the back of her heels. 

The edge of her heels kissed the tiles softly as she climbed on the rug, then she got to the table and held onto the empty armchair. Her frown thickened as she raised her chin. She was ready to raise the building up with fire.  


*****


Lumi was done with a meeting he had with the commissioner before he stepped out. The instruction was simple, and if there was anything he understood after so long that he had served in the force, it was that you didn't kick against the superior's opinion. 

He had a lot to talk about, but he was simply just watching and obeying. 

The commissioners told him to seek every legal way to pull Ayo off the Luta case. They wanted the guy jailed, at every possible cause. The way the commissioner had spoken made Lumi feel it was going to be a messy show, and that it had a lot of things to do with power with the guy as the bait. All ways were a go for Lumi, but his next task was to be accomplished before nightfall. 

The report about Luta suffering an attack had spread like wildfire, and some eye-witnesses were too generous to describe with so much artistry who the attacker was. 

Some said otherwise, but over three painted a picture clear enough to be Ayo. If Ayo was found out to be involved, or at the scene, he was going to be suspended and the case was going to be taken from him. 


The commissioner pulled a call himself for five officers to meet Lumi at the hospital. Luta was taken for proper treatment and to Lumi's greatest surprise, they were waiting for him when he arrived the hospital. 

His car fitted the lot before he hit the main reception and took his way off into the lobby, after being cleared for the exact ward Luta was in. 

It was a special ward; a room for one patient and that was all. Nothing else took the remaining space in the room except visitors, and those low sound, creepy machines. 

Lumi had a brown coat hanging on his arms as he moved across the lobby. He had the room number in his head as he looked up at every tag. He got the right one and stood at the door, hoping he had not gone wrong. 

He pulled a call through to Ayo and the phone rang close to where he could pick up its sound. It was from the room. 

Lumi turned the knob attached to the lock to the left and it clicked. 

The door opened, swooshing as Lumi stepped in. 

The dim-lit bulb overhead supported the brightness in the room, as Lumi's eyes moved faster for a scan. He was wondering why the room was filled with hard-faced men before it hit him for a remembrance; facts that he was there on an objective. 

He shook hands with them all and faced Luta who was on the bed, unworried. 

His eyes were slightly open with no other part of his body moving, except his chest which was rising and falling. 

He was awake but not ready to talk to anyone. He was mad at reasons best known to him, and the fact that his life was gradually being taken away from him was a challenge to him. 

Lumi moved over and sat at the edge of the bed. 

"How are you feeling?" He asked. 

There was a brief silence and before it got elongated, Luta replied like those words brought him back to life. 

"I'm good," was his reply. 

Lumi took a deep breath before he was done. Luta was firing more shots. 

"Can I get out of here like tomorrow? I don't like the smell." 

"You will," Lumi said managing a fake smile. 

"Can you help me out with a question?" Lumi continued. He looked away from the bed at the five men who stood in line in one corner of the room, and motioned them to come closer. He stopped them at some distance to the bed and pointed at them. 

"Can you see their faces?"

"Yes, I can." Luta answered Lumi.

"Have you seen any of them before?"

"Yes!" Luta's reply was smart. Lumi smiled. He was getting somewhere, and he spent the rest of the seconds suppressing his big, fleshy lips into a suck. 

"Which one of them attacked you?" Lumi asked. 

Ayo finally landed in his pot of soup.

His heart shrunk again as Luta's eyes came to his face.