DEBRA SHIKANDA, POPULARLY KNOWN AS Lady DeeBee (DB), rolled the beads of her rosary, her baptism gift by her mother, her gaze fixed on the wooden crucifix above the altar. She had just finished reciting the joyful and sorrowful mysteries. She was now starting the light mysteries.
Hail Mary full of grace … She repeated for the umpteenth time. Pray for us sinners, now and the hour of our death. Amen.
So much lay ahead of her: her mission, her legacy to the world. She could smell her looming death there in the church, but she was ready. Not afraid to die. She was dying for a purpose, a holy death.
Everything had been taken care of—the money would be wired to her mother’s account once the mission was accomplished.
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned, she prayed. Forgive me, mother. I am so sorry I had to do this.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, forever and ever. Amen.
At exactly 1415Hrs GMT+3, Debra walked into the US Embassy building in Nairobi, Kenya. She went through the top-notch security checks and was cleared. Phase one was over.
Once inside, she went straight to her contact. Being one of the most celebrated up-and-coming musicians in the country, she was to perform her debut hit single—For the Love of the World—during the handing-over ceremony between the outgoing and incoming US Ambassador to Kenya. High-ranking US government officials were in attendance, including the Secretary of State.
“Salaam Alaikum, Khadija,” her contact said when he saw her.
“What’s the count?” She asked instead.
“Seven hundred. Five hundred Americans.”
“Quite a number.”
“You can do this. Just be calm.”
“I’ve made my choice. My decision. There’s no turning back.” God had not saved them all. She would do it. It was about time.
“Wa Alaikum Salaam, Abdul,” Lady DeeBee said as she turned to go.
When her time to perform came, she walked up the stage, amid cheers and sophisticated ululations, to do her thing, perform her For the Love of the World single that had brought her to the international spotlight from Nairobi. It was selling more in America than at home.
God, I don’t want to see their faces. I won’t look at them, she said to herself.
All eyes were on her as she took the mic and made the first moves that had become her trademark before stopping and saying something that startled everyone before all hell broke loose.
“I am doing this for the glory of Islam and Allah.”
As she adjusted the microphone in her hand, she flipped on the discreetly concealed switch and, at the same time, the one on her bra.
The forty-storey building shook right from the foundation, explosions going off simultaneously from different locations.