It was one of those wet nights. It had been drizzling and the street was empty. The street lights next to the building he had been watching flickered once again, and a cold breeze drafted by.
Dean Wokabi wasn’t affected at all as he sat back in his car. All he did was look at his watch. 30 minutes and counting. That’s how long it had been since the man under his surveillance had entered the tavern on Gigiri Street which had neon lights above the front entrance of a thick metal door. This was where his target, Mr X, often held his meetings with the transporters. He would then drive to Muthaiga where he lived with his wife.
According to The Oracle, Dean’s boss, Mr X will be dining at his home tomorrow given that his two daughters will be visiting. That’s how they usually celebrated the older daughter’s birthday every year. He would be a bit intoxicated with his favourite red wine and his daughters’ presence would get him to loosen his guard right before his last meeting. That’s when Dean will come in and terminate his assignment.
His watch showed that it was 9.55 pm and right on cue, Mr X walked out and headed towards his chauffeured grey Mercedes. Dean has been following his target for two weeks now. At this stage, he knew his schedule, his usual routes, his favourite restaurant, his usual contacts, the extent of his property and the deals he was involved in. He watched Mr X’s car drive by heading towards Muthaiga, then waited for another 10 minutes before he started his car. Once again there was no activity going on at Gigiri Street, and all that was heard was the black Aston Martin DBS V12 as it sped up towards Fermont Hotel where Dean had been spending his nights.
In his hotel room, with a half-filled glass of whiskey in hand, and his coat hanged away, Dean loosened his tie as his thoughts wandered to his assignment. By this time tomorrow, he will have completed his biggest and last assignment.
His target, Mr X, was the head of some cruel organization that smuggled drugs and had a hand in the child trafficking in the country. To date, 120 young girls had fallen prey to this. Dean would be more than happy to put him out of his misery. But this would be it for him. His last. He will no longer be working for The Oracle. That was the plan. Even though Dean was the best agent they had, it was about time he moved on to something else.
Last week was his brother’s first death anniversary. David had also been an agent. He died in the assignment following up some corrupted politician. Dean was there when it happened and he couldn’t do anything to stop it. But his brother’s last words were still edged in his memory as if it happened yesterday. His older brother made him promise that he would leave this job and make a life for himself. Have a family and try living a normal life for both of them.
Their parents would have wanted that. They died in a car accident when David was 23 and Dean 16. That’s when they had to move from Nakuru to Nairobi, where they started a new life after selling everything they had. David had just finished college and was now his guardian. That was also the same time his older brother got involved with The Oracle. He was trained to be an agent and in exchange for his loyalty and discretion, he was promised a car, a house and what really pushed him to join them; enough money to take his younger brother through college.
Life in Nairobi was different from life back at home in Nakuru. Dean missed his friends and school, but most of all he missed Jenny; his neighbour, classmate, and girlfriend then. A smile took over his face as he remembered her; her love for nature, her laugh, her smile, her fascination with pyramids. He would never forget how much she cried that day they had to move away. He didn’t have a choice but end it, that’s what he kept telling himself. However, there has never been another Jenny ever since. Nobody was ever as smart, or as beautiful, or as funny or as understanding as Jenny.
That didn’t mean Dean didn’t get around. With his good looks and potent aura, getting the ladies wasn’t an issue. But it was with no strings attached, and he made sure the girls knew it. And when he became an agent he decided he would never get involved again. Not as emotionally as he had with Jenny. His job wouldn’t allow it. Dean didn’t allow himself.
Looking down at his watch, it was 1 AM. It was time he went to sleep; he had a long day tomorrow. By 7 am, Dean was up and ready. He took out the black leather suitcase from under his bed, checked out his guns, suited up, and grabbed his car keys ready for his last mission. Adrenaline was now pumping through his body as he sped up onto the highway.
At first, everything went as planned. He shadowed Mr X to all his spots for the day and by nightfall, Dean couldn’t wait to get it over and done with. His Aston Martin parked across the street to Mr X’s bungalow, he stared on as his target spent his last night alive with his family. He patiently waited to make his move. His car was well hidden in the dark, and he had a good view of his target’s house because of the light on his front door.
At 11 pm, the door opened and out came Mr X, and on impulse Dean’s jaw clenched. He could see his target as clearly as he laughed with somebody before he walked down the driveway.
“Daddy, you forgot your phone,” a lady in a long yellow silky dress ran outside and handed him something. She then kissed his cheek and as he got into his car, just across the road from Dean. The lady looked up and the world stopped. Dean felt like somebody had just punched all the air from his lungs. It was Jenny.
No. this couldn’t be. No. Dean couldn’t move. Mr X drove away and Jenny waved his father off. She then looked back towards where Dean’s car was parked. Then she quickly shook her head as if pushing a thought away and walked back into the house. That is when Dean realized his strained knuckles on the steering wheel.
He couldn’t believe he had just seen Jenny. Jenny was Mr X’s daughter. Of course, she was. Today was 12th October! Jenny’s birthday. How could he have forgotten that? And even though it had been 9 years since he last saw her, he could still remember her face, her smile, and the way she loved wearing her hair down when she was at home. She hadn’t changed much. Yes, she looked taller and fuller, even more, beautiful than he remembered if that was even possible. He now saw the resemblance between her and Mr X. The penetrating brown eyes with thick eyebrows, the high cheekbones…
This can’t be, he repeated to himself. And she had sensed somebody was watching. Jenny was always observant. His Jenny. The lights from inside the house went off and he snapped back to the present. He still had a job to do.
Other than his first kill, Dean has never been affected by his assignments and he never hesitated to take them out when the time came; until today. As he positioned himself at a building overlooking the warehouse where Mr X was talking to the transporters, all he could see was Jenny. Her eyes and face staring back at him. He had wasted two perfect chances to pull the trigger.
Mr X had piles of what looked like cocaine blocking his view. Dean shook his head, took a deep breath and counted to 50 backwards. He had to do this. He had to. This was his ticket out. He couldn’t mess up. Yes, he was excited that he had found Jenny again. But he wasn’t going to let it distract him. He had to do this if he ever wanted a chance to normal life. A chance to a family. A chance with Jenny. And now more than ever, and more than anything, he wanted to have Jenny back in his life. And with that, Mr X moved away from the cocaine and as he walked towards the big door, Dean had a clear shot at him. He pulled the trigger.
The clouds were getting dark. It looked like it was going to rain. Dean pulled his long black coat closer and looked at the people at the funeral. He could see Jenny from where he was standing. She looked sad like she had cried all her tears out. Her mother and sister stood on each side all dressed in black as her father’s coffin was lowered to the ground.
Dean had never attended any of his targets’ funerals before. But this was going to be just one among the many firsts he had ahead of him. He was done with the Oracle, and he was starting a new life. He hadn’t decided what exactly he was going to do but one thing was for sure; he was going to bring Jenny back into his life.
Dean never took his eyes off Jenny. 30 minutes later, people started leaving and cars started driving away from the cemetery. Jenny was the only one left. He walked towards her and stood across from her.
“Who are you? And what do you want from me?” Dean heard Jenny sombre voice ask. She knew he had been watching her. Then she looked up and their eyes met. She let out a small gasp, as recognition dawned on her. He moved around and got closer to her. Without any more words, they hugged and stayed there for minutes. Or was it hours.
“How did you know?”Jenny finally broke the silence.
“My boss did business with your father,” Dean muttered without moving away from the embrace. And in some way his boss really did. As they walked back to his car, Dean found out that she had just quit her job and was about to open her own law firm. She finally had become a lawyer. He offered her a ride back.
“Do you still have a thing for pyramids?” Dean asked her in the car. She shifted a bit in the passenger’s seat and turned towards him. She was smiling. That was the first time she didn’t look as sad ever since she knew about his father’s death.
“You remember. And Yes, I still do.”
“You wanna go to Egypt?” Dean asked as he brought his eyes back to the road ahead.
“Yes. Let’s.” He heard her say and he let out a breath he realized he was holding.
The heat was getting to him. But for the first time in a long time, Dean wasn’t dressed in a suit. His blue polo shirt looked good on him, he thought. He moved his hand next to Jenny’s and interlocked their fingers.
“We are here.” He whispered to a sleep-hazed Jenny. She had just woken up. They were sitting next to each other up high in the plane. They smiled at each other then both turned to look out of the window towards the vast land full of sand; the beautiful desert. He would never tell Jenny what her father was involved in, and neither would she know how he died. Dean had had enough of death and tragedy. He now had a new reason for living, and he was going to make the best out of his new life. His parents would have been proud. His brother would be proud.
A short story by Zaynah McAdam. Find her on twitter.