He saw the man who lit the cigarette drop it to the ground. Nii Kotey cursed silently for sneezing at such a crucial time.
“Whoever is there should come out now!” a voice boomed out. The fisherman began to think of the best way to escape; the sea! He saw it as the only route through which he could escape. There was no other way.
He swallowed nervously when he saw one of the men pull out a pistol. Another dashed to one of the cars and came running back with a rifle.
“If you do not come out by the count of three, we will begin to shoot” the voice boomed again. The moon had been covered in the sky by a cloud so visibility, fortunately for Nii, had become very poor. Nii decided this was advantageous to him. He would make his escape under the cloak of that temporary darkness, sure they will shoot him dead if they spot him.
Slowly, he stepped out of the canoe and hid behind it. He saw the men conferring among themselves. Then one quickly dashed towards one of the cars and opened the front door. Immediately, Nii realized what was about to happen; one of the car's headlights were going to be switched on to throw light in his direction. Quickly, he turned and began to crawl towards the sea. Suddenly, the whole place was flooded with light from the car.
“There he is!” a voice shouted. A shot rang out. Nii Kotey was almost in the sea now. He got up, ran and then dived headlong into the ocean. There was a sudden burst of machine-gun fire!
He swam away very fast, often staying under the water for a while before coming out and taking in some fresh air. Then he will go underneath again.
He could still hear the sound of gunfire as he swam further away from the shore. He was a very good swimmer and knew his way about. Having spent all his life by the sea, it had become one of the places he felt at home at. By the time he was nine years old, he could swim alone in the sea unassisted. Sometimes, when they go fishing and were far away from the shore, he and his colleagues will spend some time swimming and having fun in the ocean. On quite a number of occasions, especially during holidays, he had rescued people who were being carried away by the sea.
Once, a military officer whose son he saved from drowning in the sea offered him a job as a diver but he told the man he was not interested. On this occasion, however, he was not in the sea to save someone's life but his own.
He was still frantically swimming when he realised the shooting had stopped. There was total silence. He was now very far away from the shore. Suddenly he heard a sound that made him freeze. He stopped swimming and stared up. Flying far above and heading towards him was a helicopter!
Nii Kotey studied the helicopter for a few seconds; powerful lights from it beamed on the sea obviously in search of him.
For years, he had taken pride in the fact that he was a good swimmer. Sometimes, he and his colleagues will compete with each other to determine who could go beneath the surface of the sea and stay longer underneath. He had often won. But, now, his endurance level was about to be tested. He took a deep breath and then slowly went underneath the water when the helicopter was only about fifty metres away from him.
Once beneath the surface, he began to swim. And, he did it in such a way that anyone looking from above will not see any human movement.
This was not the first time he had to do this though now, the circumstances were different. This was no competition; it was a matter of life and death.
The helicopter came hovering over the area Nii Kotey ought to be but there was no sight of him. Powerful lights from the helicopter swept over the place but they could not spot him.
“There is no sign of anybody here, sir!” the pilot radioed back to the leader of the three on the beach.
“What do you mean by there is no sign of him! Search! Search for him! He is not a fish!” the leader of the gang of three snarled.
“Okay boss!” the pilot replied as he began to hover over a wider area. In the doorway of the helicopter, two men sat with their telescopic rifles ready to shoot once the target is found.
Nii Kotey, after almost four minutes, came to the surface of the water again, gasping. He looked around and then turned to look back. He could see the helicopter far behind him; it was almost about a hundred metres behind. He smiled to himself, took a deep breath again and then once more lowered himself into the water. Then he continued in the direction he had taken.
Another four minutes saw him coming back to the surface of the sea once more, gasping. He looked around and then turned to look back at where the helicopter was. He could hear the sound but could not see it again. He grinned and then lowered himself once more into the sea; then he continued towards James Town, swimming below the surface of the sea.
The tallest of the three men at the beach, Kweku Biga, a.k.a Kruger was beside himself with rage. The pilot had reported back several times that there was no sign of whoever they were after.
Just then, his phone rang. He stared at the name of the caller on the screen and shook his head in dismay. He would have been happier if Lucifer himself was the one calling him instead.
...to be Continued....
By Michael Dokosi