The Secret

The Secret: Blackmail, Journalism, Free Short Stories, Thriller, Fabling, Pam

“Should we have fun with her?
“We weren’t paid for that.”
“Come on, it won’t matter anyway, she is still going to die.”
“Yes, it will be a waste…” The voice wondered, “No, that woman will soon arrive.”
The other voice whined some more then gave in to reason. I was glad. I knew it was over for me, but it would be a shame to be raped then killed.
Not long ago I had a nice job working for a newspaper house. I was a top investigative journalist, my reputation preceded me. My writings had lifted men, broken men, fuelled revolts, inspired revolutions and made me rich.
The pay was not good, 60,000 Naira a month, and yet in five short years I had bought two plot of land, 2 range rover Jeeps, and rented a duplex in the high side of Lekki.
I made my money like every other journalist in this business. I found out a prominent person’s secret, told then I was about to publish it and they paid me to make my hands forget what I had seen or heard. It was easy. Most paid, then I passed the lead to another journalist who waited for a year or two then repeated the cycle.
This was how I met Senator Dr. Lisa Kalejaye. A senator who was also the dean of the Faculty of Law in Unilag, a woman of very high standing. Her name could open doors you never knew could budge. A philanthropist, there was hardly any charity event she was not honoured. She was known to be a good Christian woman, a sect leader in her church, a fantastic wife and mother of three. She was the perfect target.
I had found out her secret and as usual, I sent her a mail. I should have known there was something wrong when she did not react like the others. She received me with a warm smile, offered me a wine which I politely refused, then she took a look at the article I was going to polish, smiled up at me then said. “Thank you for bringing this to me before publishing it.” She looked sincere.
I was taken aback. ‘A woman with her kind of secret should not be this calm and polite.’ I thought. But then this was her past. ‘A past that followed her into the future.’ My subconscious warned.
“Does any other journalist know about this?”
“No,” I said, I wanted to milk her first.
“Good, good.” She smiled “So how much do I need to give you to have you delete the story?” She asked.
“Whatever you feel the story is worth,” I replied.
She smiled at me, walked into her room, and moments later she returned with a large handbag.
“You like it?” She asked. “It is Prada, sell it and you’ll make a huge fortune.”
“Who would I sell it to?” I asked. I wondered if she was pulling my legs.
“True, bags like this are hard to resell for their original value. But the money in the bag, it should buy your silence.” She handed me the bag.
It was heavy to hold. I placed it on my laps and rummage through the countless stacks of 1,000 Naira notes. This was it!
“Now, please do me another favour, delete the mail you sent me.” She begged. I was happy to I delete the mail, it was proof that I had blackmailed her. She asked me to unlock my phone so she could make sure that I had not saved file on it, I did. She took it from me, searched through it, I heard the sound of files being deleted then she handed it back to me and sent me off.
A month later I returned home from work to meet my house upside down. My laptop was gone and so was every file I had. I ran out, I always knew the risks of my job and I always told myself that I would be ready when the time came.
I dashed into my range and reversed when a foul-smelling cloth came over my nose.
“Have you been kind to our friend?” A female’s voice asked.

She sounded familiar. Was this the woman they spoke of?
A soft hand grazed my left cheek making my nerves revolt. It pulled off my blindfold.
“Surprised to see me?” Lisa smiled, that warm smile of hers. Only now it made my organs twitch.
I was surprised but I knew I was a fool to have been surprised. I of all people should know she was capable of may evils.
“Did you enjoy the money?” She asked. Her voice sounding motherly.
She gently took out my gag to hear my answer. I could not answer her. ‘I should not.’ I told myself, I should not provoke her.
“I’m sorry.” I finally said as tears ran down my eyes. Is this how it ends? “I’m sorry I will not do it again. I swear I haven’t told anybody about your secret.”
She patted me on the head “I’m grateful that you haven’t she smiled. But you see a secret is only a secret when it is known by just one person. I can’t have you returning to blackmail me when you run out of money.”
“I won’t come back! I won’t! I swear to God I won’t! I cried.
“I want to trust you, I really do.” She smiled. “But I already took care of the people who you got your story from. It would be unfair to keep you. You are the reason why they are dead.” I was scared because I was going to die, and worse, I was going to die in the hands of a woman who could smile so innocently while sounding psychotic.
“You understand me don’t you?” She asked. I shook my head.
“Again, thank you for taking my secret with you to the grave. I like dead people you know, they tell no secret, and they don’t blackmail you with them.” She said and this time I saw her face change, her smile turned into a smirk, her eyes, they looked… Excited.

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