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    Walt Shakes

    Walter Ude (@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter. He blogs at mymindsnaps.wordpress.com.

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THE HAND OF GOD (Part 10)

The Hand Of GodJulia retrieved her weapons from the guard at the lobby under the watchful gaze of the agents in the hall. She’d already spotted the man she’d help captive and she returned his glare with a self-satisfied smirk as she handed him his gun back.

The humour she felt, however, evaporated when she stepped out into the morning. A quick glance at her watch revealed that it was 10 o’clock. The slanting sunlight, warm and moist on her skin, presaged a hot, cloudless day, with none of the dryness of the December harmattan. The arid climate had been broken by the heat, as it often was, but it would be back. Julia wished it would. She wished for the rains even more. All this heat was just not good for her.

Her mind left the issue of her discomfort and swung onto other things as she stared for the parking lot. She was a little disappointed at the outcome of her meeting with Kanemi. She’d harboured some hope that her presence and aggressive attitude would rattle the man into revealing something. Anything that would guide her investigation of what was going on. But she hadn’t reckoned with the man’s character. Kanemi’s imperturbability was legendary. He may or may not have ordered the hit on her, but nothing short of excruciating torture would get the truth out of him. (more…)

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THE HAND OF GOD (Part 9)

The Hand Of God“Stand down! Everybody stand down!” A voice squawked just then through the public address system installed in the reception. “Let her through. The director wants to see her.”

For a short, tense moment, the phalanx of men standing with their guns drawn and pointed in Julia’s direction seemed reluctant to obey the order.

“I said, Stand down! And let her through!” the voice commanded again, as though the speaker could see that he’d not been obeyed.

The hands were reluctantly brought down, and some of the agents holstered their guns.

“You’ve got what you want,” Julia’s captive seethed. “Now, release me.” (more…)

THE HAND OF GOD (Part 8)

The Hand Of GodPreviously on The Hand Of God (Parts FIVE and SIX)

Julia Onyema, ex-operative of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) has moved on in the two years since the death of her husband. She has a new life and a new man in it. She believes her past is behind her. But all that is shattered in one night when gunmen fire their way into her life with every intention to kill.

*

Who the hell are you, Julia?

The words resonated through Julia’s mind with unflinching tenacity, causing her to grimace each time she remembered the shock and bewildered outrage – and hurt too – that coloured Patrick’s voice when he said them. (more…)

THE HAND OF GOD (Part 7)

The Hand Of GodThe faint throbbing on the left side of his face roused AbdulMalik Saful Islam from his unintended stupor. With a mild startle, he realized he’d almost fallen asleep, right there, at his desk, in the office where anyone could have walked in and seen him in such a state of vulnerability. He cleared his throat and straightened on his seat, lifting calloused fingers to massage the damaged skin.

It would not do to appear weak to his men, and Malik saw the spectacle of a sleeping form as a sign of weakness. None of his men had ever seen him sleep, a  circumstance that fanned the belief that he was indefatigable, indestructible, untouchable, not even by Mother Nature. (more…)

THE HAND OF GOD (Part 6)

The Hand Of GodBefore Julia and Patrick had completely rolled to the safety and cover of a nearby sofa, the room was awash in a sea of splintering wood, shattering glass and crumbling plaster. The glass of the window fragmented into pieces with loud pinging sounds as the bullets smashed through it and sought their targets.

“What is going on?” Patrick gasped as he flinched with the sound of every piece of furniture that was demolished by the intrusive bullets.

Julia did not answer him. Her focus was on the window. Her heart was pounding, not with fear or anxiety, but with the anticipation of a gunfight. There were clearly more than one sniper out there, and given the position of her apartment at the building’s topmost storey, she knew the snipers were firing from the window of the flat opposite hers, in the building on the other side of the road. They couldn’t be at the roof-top because the building’s roof was made up of corrugated sheets. Adrenaline coursed through her body as she turned her face to the doorway that opened into the corridor. Her bedroom was at the end of that corridor. A Glock 39 pistol lay hidden at the bottom drawer of her bedside armoire, and a semi-automatic Smith and Wesson was nestled under her pillow. She had to get to those guns.

“Jules – you’ve been hit!” Patrick choked out. His hand came up to her face. “You have blood on your face.” (more…)

THE HAND OF GOD (Part 5)

Previously on The Hand Of God

There’s an assassination attempt designed to take the life of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Godwin Fimibama. An airstrike on the aircraft he is seen boarding along with company for a summit in Cote d’Ivoire. But it is a decoy that gets killed. The president still lives and npow knows how powerful his enemies are.

*

“I love you, wife.”

“I love you, husband.”

The man and woman kiss, passionately embracing, clinging to each other, hands grasping at each other’s bodies.

Then the moment is broken by a sharp explosion. A jagged tear zigzags across the floor, and they are pulled roughly apart. The wall behind the man is blown open, and radiates outwards into a swirling darkness lit by sparks of lightning. He is lifted off the ground, and his body begins to move back, as though tugged into the hole by an invisible hand.

“No . . .!” she shrieks, stretching her hand out to him. “Grab my hand . . .!”

He tries. He flaps his hands about in a desperate attempt to catch hers. But the force pulling him back is too strong. There is a fierce current of wind eddying, pulling him. Just him. Not her, surprisingly. And in a quick moment, he topples backward, flailing and shouting, his screams of terror cut abruptly short when his body is struck by one of the lightning sparks, lighting him up into a loud explosion of fire and body parts that has her clutching her chest, her heart, and screaming in anguish. “Nooooo . . .!” (more…)

THE HAND OF GOD (Part 4)

Previously on The Hand Of God

Ten months after US correspondent Blake Hudson was murdered in her hotel room, a London-stationed agent of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), Kayode Moshood is killed in a bomb explosion that tore apart the Peckam Rye Station.

*

Three Weeks Later . . .

The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Godwin Fimibama, was the man the public saw step out of the gleaming, black, tinted-glassed Peugeot car that was part of the cavalcade that had just glided to a stop before the international airport in Abuja. President Fimibama stood, a broad-shouldered, tall man who looked very presidential. He tugged at the hem of the expensive-looking, hand-tailored dark suit he was wearing over a pristine white silk shirt and discreet silk tie, before lifting a hand to wave at the people.

A cheer erupted amongst the crowd as the president acknowledged them, all the while walking slowly toward the interior of the airport. Phone cameras flashed, and only the brooding presence of the dark-suited men flanking the president discouraged the exuberant rush of some of the people to his side. The news station cameras documenting the moment for a live or later broadcast on the television captured him moving gracefully, but with purpose, not in a hurry but not wasting time.

“God bless you, Mr. President!” someone yelled, and the cry was carried on by a number of people. (more…)

THE HAND OF GOD (Part 3)

Previously on The Hand Of God:

A year after the murder of Kenyan operative, Akeem Onyango in a car explosion, US newswoman, Blake Hudson, moves to New York to begin a new job. And a new assignment that involves an exposé of Muslim jihadists in West Africa. But the assignment doesn’t happen, because Blake is shot to her death in her hotel room by a black man with an accent.

And now, ten months later. . .

November 2023

When Thea Coulter let herself into the apartment in Carnicot House on Consort Road, she heard movement upstairs. “Remi, is that you?” she called in the direction of the stairs, her words coloured by the cockney accent that had refused to let her be fluent in her Spanish class. “Are you there?”

“Yes, come on up. I need your help here,” a female voice called back.

Thea shrugged off her woolen coat, and stowed it and her shoulder bag away inside the coat closet beside the door. Walking up the stairs, she pulled the band out of her ponytail, and ran her fingers through the straight fall of her – in her opinion, uninteresting – chestnut-coloured hair. She got to her flat-mate’s door and knocked.

“Come in!” called Remi, sounding hurried. (more…)

THE HAND OF GOD (Part 2)

Foreword

Hello, guys, voting for the Nigerian Blog Awards is still on, and yours truly is still in the running as the Nigerian Blog of the Year. So, please, if you haven’t voted and you have 3 or 4 email addresses, or you have friends who have friends who have email addresses who haven’t voted, please oh please, do get yourselves to this link: http://nigerianblogawards.com/vote2013.php

Click it open, put down your name and email address, scroll down-down-down to the bottom of the page and vote ‘My Mind Snaps’ on the category ‘Nigerian blog of the year’. Then submit. You’ll get a notification on your email, so sharpaly-sharpaly go there and click on the confirmation link so your vote can be counted. Thank you, guys, and God bless as you do this.

And now, for the story . . .

*

Previously on The Hand Of God:

Two secret agents, Julia Onyema from the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Akeem Onyango from the Kenyan task Force (KTF) defy protocol when they fall in love and get married in February 2022. And on the morning after the wedding, right in front of their Lagos Island home, Akeem is murdered in a car explosion, before his new wife.

And now, almost a year later. . .

January 2023

Blake Hudson awoke with a start. She looked at her watch. It was nearly seven. Riley had insisted that she get some rest, but she hadn’t expected to be out so long. She sat up, feeling thickheaded. Her body was aching and when she swung her legs over the side of the hotel room bed, she felt a little sick to her stomach. She still had her yesterday’s clothes on, but she had slipped off her shoes and pantyhose before lying down.

She got off the bed, padded into the adjoining bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror. “God,” was all she could manage to say. Her blond hair was matted flat, her face a mess, her clothes filthy and her brain felt like cement. Such a pleasant look to begin a new day – a new year, she corrected – with.

“Happy New Year, you,” she told the horrific-looking woman in the mirror. (more…)

THE HAND OF GOD (Part 1)

December 2021

There were certain mornings, Julia Onyema thought as she blinked her way into wakefulness, when the world at first light seemed as fresh and as new as creation.

This Saturday morning seemed like one such day.

Lying still on the bed, amidst the downy coverlets, she could perceive the scent of the neighbour’s flowers and well-tended lawn. The neighbour had a beautiful garden, unusual for a Nigerian, and right now, Julia could imagine its riotous glory spread out under the unsullied blue sky, the petals and leafy blades glistening wet from the morning dew, with the stiff breezes that wafted about seeming to purify nature. The breeze drifted into the bedroom through the open window, lifting the curtains in a tandem dance with the crashing waves from the waters of the beach which wasn’t very far.

Julia gave a soft sigh. In the nine years that had passed, she’d almost forgotten how blissful the life of a civilian could be. She lay in bed, not moving, feeling deliciously tired and content. There was a warm, wonderful glow inside her, and she didn’t want to move in case it went away. She lifted a languid hand to her face, and the band on her ring finger glinted dully in the morning light.

That was new, she thought, admiring the simple ornament that carried with it not-so-simple connotations. A mark of a fresh commitment.The start of a nascent chapter in her life. Staring at her finger, she felt the beginnings of a smile flicker across her face.

“Hello, wife,” a male voice rumbled from the bedroom door.

That was another thing new. (more…)

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