City of the Grieved Souls (Part 1)

It was a sultry Sunday afternoon. The sun flooded perpetual heat, tanning the skins of those under its rays. Dexter Burton, a man of medium height and lean build, in his early thirties, stood in his black Italian suit. His cold, narrow eyes rolled to survey the environment. As he climbed down, a gust of warm wind blustered against his fair skin. And the scorching rays pounded mercilessly upon his head. When he threw his head aloft, an acrid smell wafted across his crooked nose. Then, he ejected some thick saliva. His pouty lips sank deep into his clutched teeth, as he journeyed his eyes to an inscription over his head. It read: WELCOME TO NIGERIA!

Murtala Mohammed airport wore its usual bustling garment when Dexter touched down. Everywhere was a beehive of activity. People clustered about, nicking consciously to their various activities. Some passengers were seen landing from aeroplanes while others taking off to the sky. The chopping cacophony of aeroplanes’ blades nabbed the atmosphere, totally making the environment unpleasant for a man of his nature. Having fed his curious eyes well enough with all that was there to see, Dexter grabbed his luggage, brought out a mobile phone and began to dial number as he barged his way to the taxi packing lot. His Italian suit fitted perfectly to his lanky body. Sharp resolute steps, like a soldier in a parade ground, reverberated as he strolled. His steps, his ascent, his comportment and composure were entirely British.

Dexter Burton was visiting the country for the first time. His destination was Jos, the capital city of Plateau State. He was in a tourist tour to study the density of cold existing in the frigid area of Jos. He and his colleague, Mr. Scott Matichel, had, over fifteen years, been working on an experiment that demanded a careful study of the universal and scientific properties of cold, existing in different region of the world.

Dexter’s visit to Nigeria would aid in the completion of this fifteen-year-old project. Dexter had heard much about the city of Jos in Nigeria. His colleague, Mr. Matichel, who was once a British ambassador in the British Embassy, had informed him that, having visited Russia, Alaska, Montana, Mongolia, Norway, Canada and other cold regions in the world, the next place worth visiting was Jos in Nigeria, and then they would draw the completion of their project.

As he strutted forward, a slender-shaped lady in her early twenties suddenly scurried forward, halting him on the way. Her dark eyes fixed on Dexter’s suit, as she grinned widely. Dexter noticed her to be a quite exquisite lady.

“Hi.” She flashed a set of bright teeth.

“Hello. Young lady! A minute, please.” Dexter was now on call. The conversation was heard in a deep guttural voice. He had to inquiry about the new lady standing before him. And he was told she was sent directly from the Embassy.

“I’m Fera sir. The embassy knows you’re coming,” she said stretching her hand, as she joined Dexter in his walking motion.

“Of course they do. I surely do not need Scott to tuck a tracker on me?” Dexter responded politely.

“I’m going to be your guide to Jos, sir.” Dexter looked at Fera for a moment, studying her. He could read the lines of happiness crowding her face. And the sharp way she was reacting to show she knew her job very well.

“Everything is planned to ensure you have a safe tour sir,” Fera quickly added.

“Of course, yes. I’m Dexter Burton.” He squeezed a hand shake with her as his steps took a much more rapid pace.

“Is that from the Embassy?” Dexter said, taking off his sunglasses still strutting.

“Sure. I’m directed to meet with you by the orders of Mr. Matichel.”

“I don’t take that as a concern of his. That aside. There’s a magnitude of cold over, huh?

“Predominantly sir.”

“Then prepare, we leave by the dawn of tomorrow.”

“Definitely sir,” Fera replied, taking a heavy gasp.

***************

The Monday morning was groovy and serene. Dexter and Fera were on the first flight flying to Plateau State.

Miss Fera was the only daughter of Magnus Badumus. Magnus was from the Middle belt of the country where oil pipelines, since the discovery of oil in the country, had continued to destroy the people’s water and land. This made Badmus to detest white men so much because believed it was their voracious pursuit of oil bloc in Nigeria had been the problem of the country. He believed the white men were the reason for the death of his wife, who died a few years back because of a terrible disease she contracted from water. Badumus had loved Fera so much since her mother’s died at the age of twelve. And as part of the promise he made to her mother, he had provied Fera with everything since childhood. He had taught her everything she knew. In fact, he turned her into a killing machine, and through her poisonous Vernon, she mingled her way as a staff in immigration office. But was she really in the immigration office for immigration work?

“What’s life like in London, Mr. Burton? Tell me, is it heavenly?” Fera finally broke the long silence, as her cold eyes bugged at him. He heaved a sigh before responding.

“That I can’t truthfully tell, but there’s nothing more than a city where electricity isn’t an issue.”

“Yeah sure.” She nodded in agreement.

“Tell me Miss Fera,” Dexter began, “how much do you know about the current wave of violence within the country?”

“More than anything I have ever seen in life sir,” she whooped.

“I’ll appreciate your little clues after all,” Dexter retorted adjusting his tie slightly.

“Well then, I’ll tell just tell you few that I know,” she began, “the wave, over few days, has been extremely tumultuous in most part. While other parts enjoy some relative peace.”

“What’s more should I know?” Dexter asked.

” Hu…hu…there’s Boko Haram’s bombing of churches in the Northern part. There’s Avengers bombing of oil pipelines in the Middle Belt. There’s Biafra agitation in the East. There’s Ruga: Cow rearing turbulence across the country. While political and religious crisis enshrined in tribalism and ethnicity enveloped the West. But amidst all these sir, politicians never cease to loot away fund made for the masses to foreign countries.” Dexter listened with keen interest, while Fera stared intently at him and then added: “And I’m sure, Mr. Burton , a lot of Nigeria’s wealth is kept in your country.” She sounded accusing. Dexter didn’t say a word again. His heart sank deep to his soul as he decided a digression would do for such a discussion.

“Well, that’s enough for now. Please can you tell me more about Plateau State?”

“I have got nothing to tell you about Jos. When we get there, you’ll see for yourself,” Fera’s voice sounded like a note of finality.

Dexter was now feeling insecure more and more. His eyes rolled about. But he was sure the Mr. Scott trusted Fera before assigning her as the best for the job. When they touched down in Jos, Dexter and Fera went for different hotel rooms.

*************

It was a wet Tuesday morning. They didn’t go anywhere. No sooner had Dexter reclined on his bed than a knock sounded at his door. When he opened it, it was Fera, standing and flashing a set of white teeth.

“Hello!”

“You want some coffee Mr. Burton?” she said, holding a tray upon which was cup of coffee. He surveyed her properly before replying.

“Oh, yeah. Come in.”

She entered and dropped the coffee on the table that stood at the center of the room. Just then, her phone rang.

“Excuse me, I have to go now,” she said as she swayed her buttocks side by side, hurrying out to receive the call. A beam of smile crawled across Dexter’s mouth as he kept his eyes on the lady’s back until she was hidden by the door. He heaved a sigh and reclined back to his bed. With his head filled with the thought of Fera, he had totally forgot about the coffee on the table. Through the tiny opening on the door, he could hear her voice. The call Fera answered was full of Yeses and Nos. The guttural voice that spoke to her ears ended the call with the last dreadful note:

“Make sure no mistake is seen. Plan B shouldn’t fall if A does.”

“Alright,” she replied as the call beeped and ended.

Read Part Two.

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