‘Please tell me there’s more to this plan than just driving aimlessly through the night with some mad men chasing us?’ Lola asked.
The woman, whom they still didn’t know her name grunted, eyes on the road ahead, but she didn’t reply. Lola snorted in frustration and looked into the back seat where Bade was resting, his eyes closed. As if he felt her gaze on him, he opened his eyes and winked at her. She had to smile in response.
‘How do you feel?’ she asked.
‘Like I’m just observing what you are doing from a mile away. You know, you cope surprisingly well under pressure.’ Bade said, ‘You would make a good leader.’
Lola had to smile again. ‘You are not so bad yourself. Without you I doubt I would have gotten out of the camp alive. I owe you my life.’ She replied.
Bade looked down at himself. ‘I seem to have come off the worse for wear though. If I survive this, we’ll consider the debt paid.’
‘What would you do if we do get out of this?’ Lola asked.
Bade tried looking around, but he groaned halfway and stayed still. ‘Are the fanatics still after us?’
Lola focused behind him, seeing the glare of approaching headlights, and glumly nodded. ‘Ask me that question again when we lose them.’ Bade said, closing his eyes again, as Lola turned her attention back to the road.
The headlights of the car lit up the road ahead of them, as straight as a ruler. There were no turns or bends in sight, in other words, no way to lose their pursuers from what she could see. She turned to the woman again.
‘Just how do you expect to shake this people?’ Lola asked, an edge to her voice. The woman’s only response was to increase her pressure on the accelerator, and the powerful car surged further into the night. The headlights that had been getting closer in the rearview mirror dropped back a bit. And the woman finally responded.
‘I don’t intend to lose them. My husband’s army base is not too far from here, and that’s where I am leading them to. We are the bait, and they are the prey, though they think they are the hunters.’
‘But won’t they know you are leading them into a trap?’ Lola asked.
‘They will be too focused on us to see the teeth of the trap until it snaps on them.’ The woman said, coaxing more speed out of the Benz.
The car started rocking from side to side, they were going so fast that all Lola could see were blurred outlines of buildings flashing past them, some with lights on, others dark as the night around them. They had entered the populated areas of the town, but at such a time, there was little traffic on the road. Behind them, she could still see the headlights of the cars chasing them, but the speed of the Mercedes seemed to have finally outstripped them and they seemed to be getting fainter.
‘Oh, you’ve done it,’ Lola said, excited, ‘We are leaving them behind. We are safe.’
The woman looked into the mirror as well and saw the truth of the statement. ‘Well we can’t have that can we?’ And she took her foot off the accelerator. Immediately, the car started reducing speed.
‘What are you doing?’ Lola asked, agitation showing in her voice.
‘We want them to follow us remember? If we leave them behind, they get to strike at another place tomorrow. This ends tonight. I want my husband to come home. And I assume you and your friend don’t want to spend the rest of your lives looking over your shoulder.’
Lola opened her mouth to argue. But Bade spoke feebly from the back. ‘She’s right.’ And true to her word, the headlights came strongly into view now.
The woman was now muttering to herself. ‘Almost there now. Just a few more seconds.’ And at the next turning, she made a sharp turn to the left, and the Army barracks faced them directly at the end of the street. With strong, forbidding, high walls, and heavily armed soldiers at the gate, Lola finally felt safe. The woman pulled up at the gates.
The guard stepped up to the car, and the woman wound down to speak to him.
‘I am Mrs Janet Ganiyu, wife of Colonel AlliGaniyu, and I need to see my husband.’
The guard saluted smartly. ‘I know who you are madam, you hosted us at your house last year at the Ileya festival when we were on duty and unable to travel home’ and turning to the other guards, he bellowed ‘Open the gates.’
Before Mrs Ganiyu drove in, she added as if in afterthought. ‘The notorious fanatics who have been terrorising our nation are right behind me. Please prepare a nice reception for them.’ The guard took it in his stride, and was already bellowing orders as the gate shut behind them.
‘I believe this marks the end of our journey.’ The woman said, turning to Lola who was sobbing in her hands, tears of relief and joy. The woman decided not to disturb her and getting down from the car, she arranged for Bade to be transferred to the infirmary and Lola to join him there.
Hours later, Bade woke up feeling quite good, the pain was gone, and he felt surprisingly chipper. He was in a closed room, with one other bed where Lola was reading a novel. She seemed to have sensed him waking up as she turned to him before he opened his mouth, laying down the novel.
‘They caught the fanatics. The ones here and at the Camp. It’s been a disturbed beehive over here, but the last nurse who came to check on you said there were other survivors and those who were injured are being treated at the government hospital nearby.’ She said without pausing for breath.
Bade smiled, ‘How are you?’ And Lola blushed and smiled back. ‘I’m wonderful. Can’t believe this nightmare has finally ended. You should know, there are some reporters outside who would like a word with you, but they aren’t allowed in the barracks. You are about to become a celebrity.’ She concluded.
‘Well, you wanted to know what I would do if I get out of this? That’s your answer. I’m going to write a book, go on book tours, see the world and earn my celebrity status.’
‘Are you serious?’ Lola asked.
‘Nah, I’m going to finish my youth service here. I have to serve my fatherland. Besides, what’s the worst that could happen?’
And they both laughed long and hard, the nightmare finally over, as the sun rose in the distance, shining blazing light on a bright new day.