Sister Batel sprang out of bed with speed that startled me.
“Where are you going?”
Sister Batel did not look even look at me when she said, “Get dressed. We need to get the hell out of here now.”
I looked at her even more startled. “You gotta be kidding me. What do you mean ‘we need to get the hell out of here’?”
She was dressing in Guinness Book of Records speed. “Whoever killed Michael had to be insane, or completely nuts. Who would ever think anyone would get to Michael…”
“Wait a minute,” I said. “What do you know? Who are you, Sr. Batel?” I paused, shell-shocked. “Tell me something I don’t know.”
“Get dressed, Father. We’ve to get out of here, now!”
“I ain’t doing any of that unless you tell me what I want to know.”
“There’s no time for that, Frank. You wanna get killed, fine. But I am not telling you anything here, now.”
“Hell, no,” I scowled as I stared at Sr. Batel, fully dressed in her nun’s regalia. She didn’t look as enticing as in her lingerie. Mutula Kilonzo, the minister for education, must have seen several nuns when he said that school girls shouldn’t be forced to dress like nuns. “Don’t tell me…”
“Father,” Sister Batel cut me short. “We are not sure of anything as at now. It could be another red herring.
But Michael being dead changes everything. We don’t know who the killer is, but does it matter? You are in danger, Frank. Time to go.”
Now, that got me. Sr. Batel was saying things I found difficult to understand, and believe, leave alone comprehend. And who’s she?
“After all these years, can’t you just listen to me for once?”
It was not what she said, but how she said it that told me that I had to do what she was saying and ask questions later.
“Get your duffel bag, Frank.” She was getting my clothes from the wardrobe and throwing them on the bed.
“And don’t forget who you are, Father. An alb, cassock, stole and cincture. And of course, your bible,
missal and oils. You are a priest.”
“I don’t understand.” I was now pulling on a T-Shirt over my jeans.
“We’d be able to get to the airport for the 4:30 p.m. plane in thirty minutes.”
“Yeah, Corporal Harry has just called saying that the police outriders are already clearing the traffic for President Frank and First Lady Batel.” I was now fully dressed and getting my vestments in the duffel bag.
“Frank, would you be serious and let me handle this, my way?”
“As you say, ma’am. Let’s go, shall we?”
“Frank, let me do this, for once, sit back and watch everything. And don’t ask me to tell you anything, not yet.”
I knew that. She was stubborn, and unwavering in her convictions, the way I knew her, but I guess that was changing. Whoever she was, was something I did not know, but I wanted to know.
Damn Sister Batel.
We half ran, half walked, to her car that was parked outside the parish priest’s office. Even before we reached it, she had already started it with the remote control key.
“Buckle up,” she said once we were inside. “We have got less than thirty minutes to get to the JKIA. There may not be enough time.”
“Then stop wasting it,” I said.
Damnit, I thought. I ought to know what’s going on.
I couldn’t afford to be taken for a ride that I knew nothing of. I had lived all my life in a mask, but never once doing things I didn’t know. I had always been on top of everything, deceiving people. Guess it’s my turn to be taken in for a ride.
“What now?” I asked Sister Batel at the Nyayo Stadium roundabout as we waited for the traffic to clear.
“You know I want to know what’s going on.”
“Patience, Father. Patience.”
When we arrived at the airport, Batel retrieved a suitcase from the trunk and disappeared to the ladies. A moment later, she emerged dressed in tight, black leather pants, black medium sleeve top and trench coat.
She was a sight to behold. She looked like Lara Croft the Tomb Raider.
I was waiting at the departures lounge when she came back with our tickets.
“Clearance is waiting,” she announced. “We embark in ten minutes.”
I followed her with my duffel. We were cleared and as we waited for our luggage on the other side, PA announced that Flight KQ747 to Tel Aviv was boarding at Gate Seven. We headed there straight away.
As the plane took off, Sr. Batel reached for my hand and said, “What now? I’m getting you to safety.”
“With Michael gone now, everything has changed.”
“And? There’s something you’re not telling me,” I said, my eyes on her. “First things first. Who the hell are
you? What are you?”
“I am Gizem Aga Adskhan, your Guardian.”
Copyright ©Vincent de Paul, 2013. All rights reserved.