Teku had run more than fifteen minutes continuously, and she was now tired. Too tired to even make another step. The only thing she wished for was a minute of rest. But as she thought about this, she could hear the distant voices of the men running after her who only had one intention, to kill her.
Teku was a patriotic young woman. In her mind, the only way to live was by abiding by the truth. Justice is one of the things that she highly valued. In her home, no one dared do anything that was not in line with justice because she would be on your neck.
Her neighbourhood had tasted this part of her too. It was sweet when the script played in your favour, and when it did not play in your favour, it was automatic that you were in the wrong—something you would not like.
This time, her fight for justice rubbed one of the most notorious criminals in the Maboga locality the wrong way. Makadia was one man no one would dare cross. You’d think twice before attempting anything that would make him get mad or turn his eyes towards you. The people of Maboga locality were cautious even when sharing an open space with him, lest he looks at you and smells any suspicious energy.
Tales have it that he once looked at a confident young man and felt threatened by his aura, forcing him to be one of his errand boys. The guy was energetic, eloquent, and very vocal on local issues. His growth and development along this line could have brought about a man that could have ended his little empire. Makadia had to secure his future by cutting off the threat before it was late. The bud had to be destroyed before it bore fruits. From that day, no one dared to dream big in this area; if you desired big, it should be in line with everything he did. Otherwise, an undesirable fate awaited you.
People of Maboga were still wondering where Teku acquired the courage to do what she did. While no one ever allowed themselves to have eye contact with this man, Teku went head-on with him. She went head-on with him in a way that threatened his future, something he cared about.
However, many people failed to understand this move; a little look into how it started and everything will make everything make sense.
What Teku wasn’t supposed to see
It all happened one evening. Teku was coming from a youth meeting that sought to find ways to eliminate alcoholism among the youths. It was a bit dark; the evening was advancing into the night. Not dark but not bright enough to see more than ten metres. She heard a scraffle as she approached the last corner that led to their gate. Teku initially ignored this commotion, but it went on for a few more seconds. She decided to stop and listen. Since it was dark and she could not see, she stood still and listened more attentively.
Closer attention to the noise made her realize somebody was straining to breathe, with sharp sounds coming from his mouth. She could feel the struggle. A few more seconds of listening and she realized the worst that was going on. Someone was fighting for his life. Probably a man. He was being strangled.
She felt a chill run down her spine. Teku wanted to save him, but how was she to do this? “What if there were more than one killer? What if she screams?” She thought. She figured that the homesteads were far and that the worst would have happened before they came to rescue them. They would find two lifeless bodies. Before she finished this deliberation, her phone rang. It rang so loud that the killers were alarmed, and she immediately heard heavy footsteps running in her direction.
The next thing was to run for her life. Instead of entering her home and endangering her life and those of her family members, she went straight and manoeuvred several corners towards the shopping centre. That is how she lost them.
But then, nothing ever stayed unknown in the Mabinogi locality. Someone somewhere had seen Teku. This individual was Damian. He had seen Makadia’s men chasing Teku. Taking a short call behind one of the old telephone booths had saved him from being met by these ruthless men. This old unused telephone booth had been placed a few meters from the road.
The following morning, Peter, a budding activist, was found dead. He had been strangled and shot several times. Teku’s phone ringing had abruptly ended the first attempt of killing him silently, therefore, bringing in the gun.
Damian joined the dots. Maybe Teku had been with Peter and had escaped death by a whisker. Or, perhaps Teku had witnessed the whole ordeal and the need to eliminate witnesses leading to last night’s running. However, despite the many guesses Damian made, one thing was clear, Teku’s running for her life had everything to do with Peter’s death.
Makadia’s men found themselves running into the open at the shopping centre with guns. People were not as shocked because this was how they operated. They did not even fear walking with visible guns during the day. They were so brazen that murders were even carried out in the twilight, before people went to sleep, as seen in Peter’s case.
Take in the Hideout
Teku stayed still in her hideout until Makadia’s men gave up looking for her. This time round, she put off her phone lest someone tried to call her again. In this hideout, the only concern on her mind was not Makadia’s men anymore. She had lost them, and she was confident they would not find her. Her only worry was if someone had seen her because the coming days would soon be horrible if someone had.
Several days passed. The conversations on how Peter died went around. Like everybody, she participated in gossiping about how it was all wrong, yet there was nothing they could do. The conversations were hopeless. Going around also was gossip on how the Makadia boys had chased someone on that fateful night, yet only one body was found. When she heard this, Teku felt fear. But then another speculation was made that maybe they killed the person they were running after and dumped the body in a place that would be hard to be found. To say that this was a relief to Teku was an understatement.
The belief that the person being chased by the Makadia boys might have been killed was a game-changer. No one would be on her back. Had someone seen her, things might be different now with people talking about her. But now nobody was talking about her in any way. She had not heard any whisper of her name. It was, therefore, reasonable for her to relax.
The Three Men
Then, one day, she was outside doing laundry. Her mother was in the garden tending to her vegetables, and everybody else had gone to attend to their business. Three middle-aged men entered the compound. They were dressed casually, with decently shaved hair that made them look sharp.
Teku did not even think of anything about this visit. She thought they were just visitors. They were faces she had never seen before, but visitors don’t have to be people one has seen. She served them some refreshments as they talked.
After the tea, the new supposed visitors cut to the chase. “You witnessed a murder that we would like some information about.”
This statement left her shocked. At this time, she did not anticipate this day would come. She had buried this event for good except for the nightmares sometimes. Why now?
She wanted to protest, but the three gentlemen made it clear that they had done enough investigations to establish that she had witnessed what had gone on and they would put her under witness protection.
She figured out that protesting would not help. Already, her worst fears had been confirmed. If it had reached the investigation officers, there would have been a witness somewhere that might lead to Makadia finding her. She knew Makadia would find out. However, before he did, she better do what could be done so that she doesn’t go down without a fight.
She thought of running but remembered what had happened to Zack’s family. Zack had run away after being found out in a similar way she had been found. He tried running and what followed was five funerals in a day. Zack came around after the heinous acts of Makadia’s team but he was not sane. He lost it on that day with feelings of guilt. Nobody who loves their family would want to put them at risk.
The Loop Hole
The process started. Teku used to meet with the investigation officers in different locations that could not bring suspicion, like the Café and parks. This move was to ensure that the witness was comfortable and safe.
The criminal investigation officers were determined to end Makadia’s empire this time. The completion of this witness program would have done just that.
However, Makadia was strong, and he always found a way. A loophole was there, he snitched on the whole process, and halfway through the program, things started getting uncomfortable. Damian, who had squealed to the officers about Teku having witnessed the murder, also went to Makadia to tell him the same and get a reward.
Makadia’s men started doing rounds near her home as the whispers of witness protection began doing rounds. By now, her fate was sealed. An undesirable future lay ahead.
Her journey from the shopping centre did not end as she had hoped. She entered the compound and saw Makadia’s car. She immediately knew the day had come. A thought came to mind that it would be devastating for her family to watch how it would all go down. Then torture them with that memory; she had better lead the killers far away.
She ran out, and as expected, they followed her. She wanted to lead them to the nearby thicket. Teku had run more than fifteen minutes continuously, and she was now tired. Too tired to even make another step. The only thing she wished for was a minute of rest. But as she thought about it, she could hear the distant voices of the men running after her who only had one intention, to kill her.
As she was about to enter the thicket to hide, her eyes met an unexpected sight. More than ten policemen armed with guns were coming toward her.
After initiating the witness program, the investigation team knew that the information would leak and Teku’s life would be in danger. It was the same thing that happened to Zack’s life. This time around, they were not taking any chances. They had been on standby and ready to come head-on with Makadia’s men at the time they would attack Teku’s family.
The only safe moment for Teku, at this time, was before Makadia’s men negotiated the corner to the thicket and saw the police because she was sure a shootout was bound to happen. She increased her running speed and hid behind the police and when Makadia’s men arrived at the corner, the police, ready to shoot, shot at the unsuspecting gang, killing some of them and injuring the rest who they then arrested.
They then headed towards Makadia’s house to arrest him.
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