Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Circle

'Circle'
a short story by E.Osei-Poku


A woman carrying several sacs of cassava dough temporarily blocked his view. For thirty minutes he’d been following his mark, Anthony Ezra Tamakloe, the charismatic yet unorthodox CEO of Active Chapel. Away from the pulpit and behind the scenes, he was known as Mr Tony Money, a name that was a far cry from the pious devout man of God that he portrayed to the world. Tony had come from nothing. Absolutely nothing! A bastard child conceived on a night of drunken sex with a kelewele vendor. He never knew his mother, who’d apparently dumped him at the front gate of his father’s house two days after he was born. His father, an automotive spare parts dealer in Kumasi, had a knack for hitting. Hitting frequently and hitting hard. Tony ran away from home at 7 and made his way to Accra, the big city.


Yes, he’d been following Tony Money, a ‘devout’ man of God. This was something he’d done many times before. Many had died by his hand and Tony Money would be the next. He didn’t need a reason; he didn’t need a cause, just a sizeable cash amount deposited in an account of his choosing. 70% payment now and 30% on completion of the task. Tony was a high priority ‘task’ so the cash amount was large. Larger than he’d anticipated but he’d still negotiated for considerably more following the initial offer.

He sidestepped the woman carrying the cassava dough, effortlessly. Even in the thick human traffic of Kwame Nkrumah Circle, his lithe muscular frame wove through the crowd like an alley cat. Heart beating steadily, adrenaline coursing through his system keeping him alert, focused, light footed. He was the hunter. He was the master of his art. He was the top of the food chain. Just a few hours ago, he’d been sat on the floor of room 149 at the Niagra Hotel with his weapons meticulously laid out before him. So many to choose from and each with its merits and history. Every weapon he owned had tasted blood, every single one had its story. For this kill, the weapon had to fit. It had to make sense. He’d eventually settled on a Dauntless 3.34” solid titanium Phil Boguszewski compact hunting knife. There was something almost worship-worthy about the beauty and curve of the knife. This was the one he was going to use to take out a religious man.
He mentally located the position of the knife on his body, sheathed horizontally in the small of his back just above his belt. He knew exactly where his palm would land once he reached for it. He knew exactly how the blade would unsheathe when he called on it. He knew exactly where and how he was going to place the blade to inflict the death blow. No rehearsal needed. Experience had been a good teacher.

He had closed the gap between him and Tony, the Kwame Nkrumah Circle fountain a couple of 100 metres ahead of them, Ɔdɔ Rice behind him to his left and the Vodafone building across the road to his right. The human traffic between them was dense and bustling, mostly phone vendors hawking a variety of original devices mixed in with countless cheap Chinese imitations. He had to further close the gap and be within striking distance before they reached the overhead foot bridge. That was where the human traffic was densest. That was where Anthony Ezra Tamakloe would take his last breath before meeting the maker he’d preached to so many about.

With little effort, he picked up the pace, a brisk walk just short of a trot, cutting and weaving through the crowd painlessly. A few beads of sweat were now forming on his brow but they were inconsequential. The sounds and smells of Circle had all but faded to nothingness. He was of singular purpose and every impulse, every synapse, every nerve ending, every muscle fibre and tendon had been repurposed by his body to fulfil his one objective. KILL!

Having closed the distance between them he slowly and expertly reached for his knife. As expected, his palm landed exactly where it was meant to, caressing the cold but familiar titanium handle. He savoured the feeling and let it linger for a second. With an ever so slight flick of the wrist he decoupled the press stud that held the blade in place and felt the smooth motion as the knife broke free of its restraint.

Then he felt it. The same agonising death he’d inflicted on so many before him. Cruel, cold and precise. The blade that expertly punctured through his 3rd intercostal space was flat, fierce and skilfully wielded. He suspected it wasn’t much unlike his own. A weapon he would have liked to own himself. The pain shot through his body like nothing he’d experienced before. He was powerless to stop it and had been completely caught unguarded. His killer knew it and he could feel him savour the moment. That moment of absolute power and control! That moment when the sniper sees the bullet tear down his target through his scope. He felt every cruel motion of the blade as it twisted its way through his pleural sac into his lung and towards his heart. His killer was good. It would be a single blow kill, clean and clinical. There would be little blood to show for his death as he’d most certainly bleed out internally.

How had he not seen this coming? The blade twisted its way through his heart, rupturing his left ventricular wall. Blood gushed into his lung. This was his end. An elegant death inflicted by a superior hunter. Within seconds, the knife recoiled and was free from his body, inflicting even more damage on its way out. Life drained out of him. He dropped his Phil Boguszewski Dauntless blade and clutched the point of entry. There was no point looking for his killer. He’d be long gone, merged seamlessly with the bustling Circle crowd. More life drained out of him.

He looked up in the direction of Tony who’d stopped just ahead of him and was staring directly at him, waiting to meet his gaze. Their eyes met momentarily. Tony raised a finger and shook it as if to say ‘tut tut’. He stared for a moment longer and then nonchalantly turned and continued on his way. Within moments, Tony Money was gone!

He leaned against a post at the foot of the overhead bridge and waited to die. It was ironic how life left him in one of the liveliest places he knew. The thought made him smile.

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