|1|Fatal Extraction |

“Mrs. Mosweu?”

Ania shivered, when the heavy baritone reached her ears. 

“Miss,” she said, “No man’s been brave enough.” She smiled, but kept her focus on her task gathering her notes off the podium. “Who’s asking?” Her last class just let out and she had hours of grading to do before she could retire to her condo. She’d planned to eat dinner on the walk out terrace and enjoy a view of the city. When he didn’t answer she looked over her shoulder at him and her insides stilled. She met the handsome man’s deep brown eyes. She shook the thought and brought her gaze to the lecture hall that was quickly emptying. She didn’t care what people thought about her. She wasn’t going to settle for any Tom, Dick or Harry. 

She examined the man as he approached her. His hair was cut low just a shadow on his head. His strong arms stretched the black shirt across his torso. Her smile faded when she met his serious eyes. She swallowed and diverted her greedy eyes back to her task. 

“I’ve been sent on behalf of your father and the United Nations to--”

“Stop right there. I don’t have anything to do with my father and his political bullsh--” She gasped, when he grabbed her arm and tugged aside right before a bullet zinged past them.

Confusion made it difficult for her to explain what happened after that. Somewhere in there he pulled a gun from his ankle and popped off two shots. She was cowering behind the podium. She heard a grunt and a body tumble down the concrete steps of the lecture hall. He grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the classroom. Her chest tightened when she noticed the dead man. A student that recently transferred into her class. At least she thought he was a student. 

“I need to stop in my office and get my laptop.” She pulled against him, trying to formulate some sense.

“No laptop.” He kept hauling her through the building, down the steps, into the lower level.

She yanked her arm free and eyed the man with wide eyes. “W-what’s going on?”

“Your father’s enemies want to persuade his vote in the upcoming election.”

“W-why? What has he done now?”

The man’s dark eyebrows pulled together. “This is not the time for discussions.”

She pulled her hand from his. “I’m not going anywhere with you.”

He frowned and squared his shoulders.

“I’ve never lost a mark and I won’t start with you.”

She took a step back when he took one toward her. “Like hell. How do I know I can even trust you. You say these things. How do I know you aren’t apart of all this?”

“I could pick you up and carry you, but I’d prefer you walk.” He stepped aside and presented the dank, dark, musty path further into the basement.

She frowned rubbing her palms down her pencil skirt and took cautions steps to avoid shallow puddles. She was wearing one of her favorite designer shoes.

They walked a few steps. “Did my father tell you--”

“Shhh,” he demanded. He held his pose for a moment listening, then gestures for her them to continue walking. 

“I told you,” she whispered. “I need to get my tablet.”

“No tablet.”

She grumbled and pulled out her cell phone. He grabbed it and tossed it away. “What the hell!”

“That thing will get you killed--” He shoved her behind a storage shelf and took position next to her with a finger over his well-shaped lips. Her heartbeat picked up when she heard two men speaking a language she’d not heard in an age.  The tongue from her mother’s homeland of Botswana, Tswana. She grabbed his arm when the words found meaning in her cobwebbed-mind. Before she could slip into a memory, he signaled for her to remove her heels and walk backwards. He followed as they crept out of the boiler room and out a back entrance that led to an alley. He took her hand and they walked swiftly down the street. 

“You knew what they said, didn’t you?” He wanted to know, when they got into a dark-colored sedan.

She met his eyes and nodded. She was literally shaking as memories from her childhood haunted her.  “M-my father has a lot of enemies.”

The man grunted and pulled out of the parking garage. “There’s a bag in the back. You’ll need to change.”

“Okay.” She frowned at her dirty stockinged feet and the two thousand dollar heels next to them, with grime on the bottom from trekking through the dirty basement.

“Now!” He frowned over at her. “Change now!” 

“Now? In the car? With,” she frowned. “With you?”

He frowned. “Someone just shot at you with intent to kill. Do you really think it’s a time for modesty?”

She stuck her nose in the air. “If a woman doesn’t have her modesty, what does she have?”

“Her life. If she wants to keep it, she’ll change. Now do it. It’s going to be a long ride anyway.” He set back in the car seat. “You’ll want something comfortable.

She retrieved the bag and scoffed at the homely clothes inside. “Ah, expecting me to wear these rags. What is this?”

“Put it on and stop complaining.”

She shimmied out of the skirt and quickly pulled on the baggy sweatpants. She glanced over at him to see if he was being a peeper, but his serious gaze was focused out the window. She took her top off an failed at her first attempt and pulling on the strang top. She pulled it away from her and turned it over trying finally determining the correct way when she heard a grunt. She glanced over at the man and his dark eyes found the windshield. His strong jaw clenched and he gripped the wheel tighter.

Heat started to swim inside her imagining that maybe he was reacting to her partial nudity. She shook the thought. She really needed to get out more. 

She pulled the shirt on and arranged it as best she could before settling back into her chair and putting her seatbelt on.

“That too.” The man said. 

She looked over at him confused. “What?”

“That,” he said, pointing to her head.

She frowned and touched her head. “My wig! I’m not taking it off!”

“That wig has a target on it. Take it off. We have to change your appearance as best we can.”

She snatched to wig off and stuffed her cornrowed head into a hat she found in the bag. 

This was bullshit! There was a good reason why she hadn’t spoken to her father in five years. Oh, when, nah, if she ever had the chance to talk to him again she planned to tear into him only like she could. People said she was just like the man. She didn’t see it at all.

“Keep your head down and don’t look out the window. There are cameras everywhere.

“Where are we going?”

“Somewhere safe.”

She groaned and rubbed her hands down her face. “Being the daughter of Kungawo Mosweu, there’s no such place.”



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