Jade and the Scorpions

“How’s it feeling today?” Jade asked Bolu. It had been just over a month since he was stabbed by the young man in the church, with what turned out to be a poisoned dagger.

Bolu tried to hold a gun with his right hand, “Grip’s better… ” he responded, before taking aim. His arm felt an involuntary twitch as his finger went for the trigger. “… or, maybe not.”

They were in Jade’s living room, a unique place as Toba put it a fortnight after they first arrived. Bolu’s right arm then was still swollen, with pus drooling intermittently from the wound.

It had healed considerably since Jade had had to cut open the wound the night they came, leaving him with the souvenir of a scar there, surrounded by a blot… another souvenir, from the poison. “Give it some time, it’ll be fine.” Jade assured.

After some time she stood, “You must be hungry.” she said on her way there. “I’m hungry too.” Toba spoke up. “”you” meant both of you… ” she said as she left the living room. “… and my shoulder’s fine.” Toba retorted.

Bolu would’ve asked what all that was about but with Toba and Jade, he now knew better than to do so. Instead, he took a look around at the living room with no windows.

“How are we breathing?” he finally asked. Every room in her place had no windows and instead, the walls had surreal wallpapers of intriguing landscapes; a multitude in and around the Basilica at the Vatican was the living room’s wall and in it, Bolu saw a pickpocket.

He was standing in front of the pickpocket now when Toba replied from his sit, “She has a twisted sense of humour eh? The people are random by the way, except a few.”

“Like the pickpocket.” Bolu caught on. “Yes, like the pickpocket.” said Toba, now standing beside Bolu, admiring the pickpocket who was between two people going opposite her. She had long hair, most of which was covered by the maroon scarf she wore.

The scarf also went across her face, covering all but her eyes and nose bridge. The narrow, brown eyes seemed to stare at Toba who, mug in hand, seemingly staring back, told Bolu “Spirit probably was the best among us.”

Silence ensued with Bolu checking other faces and Toba lost in thought as he stared blankly at Spirit. “I did only ask for how we’re breathing… ” Bolu said after a moment. “Yes, that.” Toba began, “Honestly have no idea how it works. Only three people know how this place works, one of them is dead.”

Bolu’s countenance indicated interest and Toba obliged. “Now what she told me… “, Bolu raised an eyebrow, “… just listen. Even I don’t know much about this place except the obvious, which is she’s one of the three.”

Toba continued, “Now, the dead one let slip to a group that called themselves the Scorpions – five fellas with what I must say were surreal looking tattoos on them – so he could get the place for himself apparently.”

“What happened to them?” Bolu asked, catching the past tense. “Killed them. Sent them a contract with herself as the mark. Even paid them half upfront.”

“She’d asked the dead one to meet her at a hotel two hours prior, same place she was to be the mark for the Scorpions. Dead one got there, she stabbed him in the neck soon as he’d closed the door behind him.”

“Then she dabbed the door knobs with vanadium before cutting herself on the left cheek, lower belly and a bit of her left palm when she was done. Reluctantly made a wound on her right thigh too.”

“What the bloody hell for?” asked a perplexed Bolu. “Meeting her bloodied would throw them off, more so after she would tell them the dead one was going to kill them after they did her anyway.”

“And it did ruffle them.” continued Toba, “They were a bit annoyed to meet their prey in such state but the leader apparently had a hunch she was behind their contract, so he began trying to play smart with her.”

“Being three moves ahead of the Scorpions, she just sat on a table with a window behind her. That’s where I came in, waiting for her signal so I’d take ’em out if she couldn’t.”

Bolu’s eyes narrowed. He imagined one of the Scorpions going down soon after as a result of the vanadium while she stabbed the nearest one to her and Toba then taking out three others.

“And that’s the advantage with her, she is always underestimated!” Toba said, reading Bolu’s face. “You’ll imagine she wouldn’t be able to throw a knife, let alone get a killing stab… ”

“… actually, I imagined her stabbing one close to her after the vanadium had got to another, then you taking out the rest.” Bolu interjected.

“Well that’s modest.” Toba said smiling. “What happened was that three went down as a result of the vanadium. The other two had knives in their necks before they could get a grasp of themselves.”

Bolu was surprised. “Three? How?” he asked. “One opened the door, a second closed the door. That’s the two knobs gone. One of the two that got enough vanadium from the knobs passed a syringe to the leader.”

“There mustn’t have been enough to pass on through that” Bolu thought aloud. And “True.” Toba agreed. “So,” he went on, “she took out a glove and wore, took the syringe from the leader and looked him in the eye before injecting him in his chest.”

Bolu had a smirk on him. He was very impressed. “I presume the syringe had scorpion’s venom in it.” to which Toba nodded in agreement. “That would’ve been one excruciating death.” Bolu said.

“Indeed it was. And looking right at him I hoped he’d tell the others in hell what lesser demons they were.” said Jade, emerging suddenly with an apron and gloves.

“You’re grilling their leftovers?” Bolu said, stopping her in her tracks. “Told you you’d like him around.” Toba broke the sudden silence. Jade smiled.

“But I’d have to let you know, even if you haven’t figured so, I’ll kill you if you spoke of this place with another not hearing my words now.” Jade said, still smiling.

“Of course.” Bolu said. “Just one thing… ” moving on quickly from the serious matter she had just touched, “… how are we breathing?” he asked.

Toba laughed at the question. Jade shook her head at Toba. Bolu sighed, ‘not again.’ he thought. “I’ll tell you some other time.” Jade finally answered, “But now, I’m going to make sure you two become far more lethal. That day at the church was pathetic.” she said as she made her way back to the kitchen, “bought your house and demolished it by the way.” she said at the door out of the living room.

“Bought our house?” Bolu asked no one in particular, confused. “That upfront payment for your last contract… ” Jade called out. Bolu gaze, wide-eyed in shock rested on Toba who, uninterested in attending to Bolu’s shock, sighed before having a sit and taking a sip from his mug.

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