Chief Hanson Briggs sat in his office and stared out the window, listening to his accountant drone out an impressive and brain-numbing series of numbers. The business mogul had one hand under his jaw, and he rubbed his beard gently as he stared out at the view before him. It was a depressing one. Numerous roofs filled his line of sight and in the distance, he could see what looked like the beginning of a massive traffic jam. There was no single tree in sight. When the building was purchased and his office was first set up, the interior decorator had suggested he take a space on the other side of the building, which had a more serene view of trees and a distant barely-used polo field.
But Chief Hanson Briggs had refused. He needed to stare out at the gritty side of Port-Harcourt. It was a reminder of where he had clawed his way up from, and of where he had vowed to never return.
The accountant finished reciting his numbers and waited patiently for the Chief to acknowledge his presence. He knew that even though the business mogul looked pensive and distracted, he had not failed to hear every single digit that had been called out. When it came to matters of money and balancing accounts, Chief Hanson Briggs was practically a savant.
“Sounds okay.” The chief finally grunted. “Although i noticed a small decline in the bakery supply’s monthly figures…”
The accountant flipped through the pages of a folder in his hands, looking for the answer to the implied question. “It says here that flour prices inched up this month, sir, and a few buyers paid for less than their usual purchases, but it’s already evening out. Next month’s numbers ought to be up to par.”
The Chief nodded. He was already aware of the fall in flour price, but he wanted to know if his employees had accounted for it. “Alright then. Leave the papers here. My secretary will bring the folder down to your office after I sign off on the monthly financial reports.”
The accountant exited quietly, leaving the Chief to his thoughts. Alone, the chief whirled away from the window and picked up his phone, frowning down at it as he flicked through the disturbing information he had received the week before.
He had hired a private financial investigator when his spider sense had begun to tingle a few weeks ago, and the results of the enquiry had given him every reason to suspect that a shadowy presence was making a play for the various business concerns he owned. Various offers to buy shares had come through from nowhere, and they had been too generous—too good to be true.
Chief Hanson Briggs was worried. Even though his starting capital had not been exactly above-board, all his enterprises were now legitimate and he had nothing to fear… except his past. Was it coming back to bite him in the behind?
He stood up and paced his office restlessly, his Brogues sliding with a soft squeak across the marble floor. He had worked too hard to ensure the future of his family. He had two children; a boy from a previous marriage and Preye, his pride and joy- he had to make sure their legacy was safe.
No one, not even the shadows from his past, would dare to threaten his success because his ace-in-the-hole was safe, right where it had always been—in his home. No one could access it except him.
His house was a veritable fortress. The only thing he should be afraid of was fear itself.
Deep in the heart of Chief Hanson Briggs’ veritable fortress, past all the security outposts, Caleb Enyindah waited besides Preye Briggs’ jeep, his posture nonchalant. A few members of the house staff walked past him and they all exchanged greetings. Caleb turned on his full charm and soon had all the female employees giggling in delight they could not even explain. He watched them go, his smile fading.
Once they were out of sight, he spared a look at his wristwatch. He was still very early and did not expect Preye to be downstairs in anything less than ten minutes.
After another quick look around, he stuffed his hands in his pockets and walked towards the rear of the house, ducked around a wall and stepped gingerly over a flower hedge. Then he stopped and peered up at the last story of the big house, his eyes zeroing in on a large window at the far end. According to his calculations, that was where Chief Hanson Briggs’ bedroom ought to be. He could only guess- so far, he had not had an opportunity to advance beyond the ground floor of the house from the inside.
Caleb squinted and cursed beneath his breath. Every window of the house was secured with burglary-proof bars, as he had expected. But the chief’s room was even more fortified. The bars outside the window were thicker than usual and when he looked closer, he could see metal sheets on the inside, plus a small camera beneath the roofing sheets, directed towards the window itself. Caleb shook his head. No doubt, Chief Hanson Briggs had spared no expense to ensure that room in particular was safe from invasion. He would not be surprised if there were motion sensors rigged to go off at the slightest touch.
He trudged away, careful not to step on any flowers, deep in thought. Getting into the room might be harder than he had expected, but at least he was sure of one thing. The Chief would not have gone to so much effort if what Caleb was after was not in that very room.
All he had to do was find his way in.
He turned the corner that led to the rear of the house, musing to himself, and screeched to a halt as he almost bumped into a person who looked as equally startled as he was.
Suspicious eyes narrowed as they ran over Caleb, and he struggled to keep his guilt off his face. Benson Adewale, Chief Hanson Briggs’ head of security, was definitely the last person he wanted to find him creeping around the Briggs home.
“What were you doing back there, Mr Enyindah?”