The Clarion Call (Episode 4)

The next afternoon, Bade and James walked into the reception area together. The building was a two storey office complex, with no name or visible sign of identification outside. Bade had no idea how James had known this was the building they were to come to. They registered their names and addresses at the reception and were then directed to the second floor where they met eight people already waiting in front of the only office that occupied the second floor.

The walls were painted white, with different paintings on the wall, and a soft cream rug under their feet. Bade who was dressed casually in a polo top and jeans instantly felt uncomfortable, and he whispered to James as they took their seat side by side.

‘You didn’t tell me his office was this nice. I feel out of place.’ He said, looking around him at the men who were mostly clad in suits and the women in rich native or expensive looking gowns.
‘It’s not like I’ve been here before. I didn’t know what to expect either.’
‘Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll be fine.’
‘That’s easy for you to say, you are not the one being shipped off to a war zone.’ Bade retorted.

‘Yes, yes, yes, I know. Now try and calm down. Hopefully we won’t have to wait long.’ That didn’t prove to be the case as an hour passed and the door to which they all looked every few minutes remain closed. They passed the time watching the wall mounted plasma television set twiddling their thumbs and trying to stay as comfortable as possible. Then a breaking news item came on that made both of them sit up.

‘Oh my God.’ Bade exclaimed as bodies were lined up on the streets of Kano, the Kano state capital. There was a flashing sign on the top of the screen that viewer’s discretion was advised. There had been an attack on a local church by the terrorists, they had locked the doors while the church members were having a vigil, and they had set fire to the church. The building had burned so ferociously, and the response from the firemen had been so slow that it took over twelve hours before what remained of the church doors could be pried apart and rescue workers could enter the burned out husk. Early reports estimated that as many as two hundred people had been in the Church, the doors had been locked and the windows were burglary proof, it appeared that none had made it out alive.

James shook his head. ‘That’s a really messed up way to die.’ As the news correspondent promised to keep the public apprised and the station returned to their previous arts and craft documentary.

Bade looked sorrowful and at the same time disgusted. ‘These people are animals. Why would one man do this to another? When they are caught, they ought to be executed without trial. It’s the only justice they deserve.’ He concluded angrily.

An older man who had been behind them, watching the news as well behind them spoke slowly. ‘One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.’
Bade turned to the man, an angry retort on his lips, but when he saw the calm look on the man’s face, he controlled himself. ‘There were women and children in that church sir. They didn’t deserve to die like this.’

‘But nothing you do to their killers would bring them back would it? The dead don’t care. Whatever harm occurs then would be on the souls of their executioners, for in exacting what they call justice on this depraved people, they become a little like them.’ The man continued in the same calm, measured voice.

James jumped in. ‘Are you saying what they are doing is right?’
The man chuckled. ‘Not at all, but jumping into conclusions seems to be a failing of youth. It’s something you should be careful about.’
James turned back to his friend, ‘Don’t worry Bade, we’ll get you out of this.’

As he spoke, a young woman came into the waiting area and sat down not far from the two of them. She was of average height with a slim build and she was eye-catching with a pert nose and curvy lips. Not long after, another young man came in looking harassed, he was dressed in a grey ill-fitting suit with a look of dirt and grime around it. He stopped as he passed the pretty lady who had just come in before him, and walked back a few paces, a soundless whistle on his lips.

‘Hi, are you here to see me?’
She looked confused for a second, but then she nodded.
‘Right then,’ the man said smiling, ‘come with me.’ He continued as he headed for the office. He fiddled around in his pocket and brought out a bunch of keys, inserted one in the lock and ushered the girl inside. Bade closed his mouth with an effort, thrusting himself to his feet. There were other groans and sounds of frustration in the room but nobody but Bade got up. As he took his first step, James held out a hand, holding him back.

‘Calm down, Bade, we will see him soon enough.’ He prophesied. This time he was right, as the young lady left five minutes later, her face looking distressed and one of the men who was closer to the door quickly walked in. Bade wondered as to what had transpired between the lady and the owner of the office, then he dismissed the thought as they entered the office an hour later.
The young man who was the lone occupant of the office looked up from behind his desk and pointed to the two seats opposite it.
‘Good afternoon gentlemen. How may I be of service?’

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