Afo continued to hit his revolver on his palm in a rhythmic manner as he revolved around the escaping captives. ‘So what were you trying to do?’ He shouted at them.
Evelyn clung to Henry’s arm like a scared child. They were surrounded by four armed men who stared at them without pity.
‘How did you cut the ropes and knock out those two guys?’ Afo asked again, taking a look at each of his men. ‘Or did they compromise?’
Afo moved closer to Henry and Tarasha. He placed his gun on Henry’s nose and Henry froze in fear. ‘You’re brave right?’ Afo continued to taunt. ‘I would have killed you right now, but I’ll take you inside first, for two reasons. First, I don’t have a silencer here and secondly, I was ordered to make your death slow and painful’
He pushed Henry backwards on the nose with the gun and moved to Tarasha. ‘Hmm…’ Afo licked his lips wickedly. He placed the gun on her forehead and dragged it down her nose, lips to her neck. He then used his left hand to pull down her jacket’s zip revealing her inner armless top. ‘You seem to have a nice body’ he said as he stared at the curves on her chest.
Afo dipped his hand in his pocket and picked out a knife. He placed it on Tarasha’s top and began to cut it downwards.
Henry couldn’t stand what his brain was communicating to him, this was the same thing he had seen some years ago and it was replaying again. His sister’s clothes was torn on that fateful day with a knife too, but the difference was that his sister was held by two other men.
Then recognition hit him, he remembered Afo. Afo was also one of the men who had joined Dare in assaulting and murdering his sister back in the university. Hormones rushed into his brain, his eyes was filled with anger and his body vibrated as he tried to hold himself back
Afo was getting down to the breast level when Henry sent a blow to his hand, making the knife fall off.
All eyes turned to him. Afo smiled, surprised by his audacity. ‘Bastard!’ Afo cursed as he sent a blow to Henry’s chest and followed it up by using the butt on his head. Henry lost consciousness immediately.
Afo smiled and turned back to Tarasha. She began to move backwards slowly like someone who was deeply terrified. Afo’s boys formed a wall at her back to prevent her from further moment. The look on her face was like that of an helpless child.
‘Please, I’ll give you my body. Don’t hurt me’ she spoke in a pleading manner, trying to buy more time. ‘Let’s go inside and I’ll submit myself to you’
‘I don’t need you to submit yourself or give yourself to me. I’m taking you by myself’ Afo laughed wickedly.
He moved close to her and stretched his hand towards her torn inner top. She stopped him with her palm.
Surprisingly, he couldn’t push further. It was as if the strength in the girls arm was equal to his own. He felt insulted and motioned his hand to slap her but she dodged. She bent down and delivered an uppercut to his groin. The huge man fell on one knee, wincing in pain.
Tarasha’s defense of her self took Afo’s men by surprise and before they could react properly Tarasha had driven a knife into the big Afo’s right foot, sticking him to the ground and she was holding his neck with another knife close to it.
‘His head would come down if anyone moves or cocks his gun’ Tarasha gave a serious warning to Afo guys who were pointing a gun at her. Blood was already dripping from Afo’s neck as the knife was so close to his skin.
Afo made signals to his men with his eyes, scared to talk and deepen the knife’s entrance into his neck. His men gradually began to put down their guns.
‘Good. Bring them over here’ Tarasha motioned one of the guys to pack all the guys and drop the guns close to where she stood. ‘Now remove every other weapon you have with you’
Afo’s men raised up their hands in a surrendering fashion, trying to communicate that they had no other weapon with them. Tarasha stared at them for a moment, scrutinizing their pockets from her point.
‘You’ she signified to the one at the middle with her head. ‘Take out that revolver behind your Jean’
The guy in the middle was shocked, he used his hand to beat his chest to confirm if she was really talking to him.
‘Yes, Idio*t! Take out that revolver inside your trouser. The guy quickly loosened his belt and dipped in his hand to bring out the gun. He threw it where the other guns were and raised back his hands. ‘Now, turn your backs’ Tarasha ordered and the guns turned immediately.
‘Okay…’ She said, searching their bodies with her eyes. ‘Take him into your car’ she ordered them to lift Henry into the car.
‘When you place him at the back, then drive the car down here’ she ordered again, bending down to pick a gun.
She stared at them one after the other, she felt the urge to drop each of them. But no, it would only cause more problems. It may get her deeply involved with the police which she needed to avoid. The car was parked right beside her with Henry laid on the back seat. The driver came out and joined the rest of his men whose hands were raised up.
Mallam Jefa was surprised at the manner at which the red car who had just driven into his neighbour’s compound drove out of the gate recklessly. The car had just gotten to the front of his shop when it stopped and the new driver, a lady came out of the car. She turned round to check the tyres, the right back one was bad. She entered back into the car and drove off without bothering to change it
Jefa rubbed his eyes vigorously, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. ‘Have I seen that lady before?’ He mumbled to himself as he walked out of his store and stood at the side of the road. His customers that were unattended to were already getting surprised at why he abandoned them to peep a car whose movement or owner wasn’t his business.
‘No, it… can’t be’ Jefa mumbled to himself again as his body vibrated all over. Urine began to pass out of his body involuntarily. He raced back into his store and hurriedly rolled out a bike.
‘Mallam Jefa, what are you doing with my bike?’ Someone shouted at him.
Jefa ignored and started the engine, he sped off immediately in the same direction the car went.
Sylvester arrived at the black gate in his car with two police vans at his back exactly by three thirty pm. The police officers jumped off immediately and some rushed to Mallam Jefa’s store. Boys who were smoking, drinking and eating at the store began to run helter skelter to evade police arrest. The officers were able to capture quite a number of them.
Some officers had already launched into the building. The compound seemed empty but there were traces of blood and signs of a fight. Three officers proceeded into the building carefully. The saw a body laying face flat, lifeless on the floor. The body was turned upward and the police took note of the bullet sent into the chest.
‘Is he?’ One officer spoke in a very low voice to his companion.
The other replied in negative with a wave of the hand.
‘I think the victim was previously tied up here’ another officer said in a low voice, picking up the ropes. ‘But it doesn’t look like it was only one person who was tied up’
‘Maybe this was also one of the victims’ an officer suggested, pointing to the lifeless body with bullet in the chest.
‘I hope not’. The officers began to proceed with caution into the others rooms in the building. Two other men were called to join them from outside the building. A loud groan startled them.
‘Did you hear that?’ An officer asked as the groan came again.
‘Some people are surely inside this house and they’re unaware of our presence.’ The officers dispersed themselves into the other rooms with great determination to find the criminals.
‘Doc, you have to stop that treatment for now’ Audu, a long bearded stout man who was second in command to Afo spoke.
Afo who laid on the bed receiving treatment turned to Audu in surprise, demanding an explanation with the look in his eyes. Afo’s neck injury which had cleaned but not bandaged made it difficult for him to turn his head. The Doctor also demanded an explanation.
‘The police are around, they’re in the main building and we could attract them here if we keep making loud sounds’
Afo nodded in agreement. The Doctor turned to Afo, ‘would you try to maintain calm while I treat you?’
‘What the hell is maintain calm?’ Afo slammed at him as he tried to sit up. ‘The injury is so painful, I can’t keep quiet completely. We have to wait for the police to leave’
With that, the Doctor got up from the bedside, picked up his instruments and walked away.
Afo turned back to Audu. ‘Is the underground door properly locked?’
‘Yes, it is. The police would never notice that there’s a door there’ Audu replied confidently. ‘I don’t just want them to have a clue that there’s an underground facility’
‘That’s right’ Afo commented, getting up to his feet. He hopped in pain to the fridge and took out a bottle of water.
‘You should have brought those idiots to this place’ Audu spoke after watching Afo gulp down the whole contents of the bottle.
‘I underestimated them’ Afo replied with a tone of regret. ‘I didn’t expect such strength from a girl’
‘It will be difficult to kill them now. They would be more careful and the police would also keep an eye on them’
‘I know, we have to inform Dare to be careful’ Afo picked up his phone and sat back on the bed. His phone rang before he could dial anything.
‘Hello Dare, I was about to call you’
‘Yes, how far Afo?’ Dare’s voice came cheerfully. ‘Did you record their shouts and screams?’
‘I’m sorry Dare, they escaped’ Afo spoke in a pleading manner.
‘They did what???’
‘They are also aware that you’re behind this. So be careful please. I promise to make it up to you’ Afo ended the call without waiting to hear another reply.
‘What’s that?’ Jubril Lawal asked as he walked down the stairs of the duplex. Dare was unaware that his he raised his voice loud enough for someone else to hear.
‘Nothing Dad, nothing.’ Dare put on a fake smile and stood up to welcome his Dad.
‘You’re sure there’s nothing wrong?’ Dare nodded. ‘Then who were you talking to?’ Jubril pressed on.
Dare stared at his father, the unwillingness to answer the question was clearly seen on his face.
Jubril smiled. ‘Don’t worry son, you don’t need to give me a reply, it’s not my business anyways.’
Dare gave a forced smile.
‘So how’s work?’ The father asked.
‘Fine sir, how about yours?’
‘Fine also’ Jubril smiled again.
Dare was feeling uneasy. His Dad’s smiles were unusual and getting too much. ‘You said you wanted to see me’
‘Yes son. It’s my birthday next tomorrow and I’ve decided to organize a banquet’ Jubril paused, allowing Dare to absorb the first part of the information. ‘I’m inviting my friends and business partners. So I want you to work with Debo in organizing the banquet for me’
Dare found it hard to believe what he just heard. He was tempted to almost ask if his father was just marking a joke. ‘You want to organize a banquet?’ He asked softly.
‘Yes son, what do you think?’ Jubril Lawal paused and stared straight into his son’s eyes.
… to be continued
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GET FIVE HUNDRED NAIRA CARD
Hi guys, I’ve got a simple question for you. The first person who gets the correct answer would get five hundred naira recharge card voucher when the answer is finally revealed. Here’s the question :
Who is Mallam Jefa, where and how
did he know Tarasha?
HINT : The answer may not be expressly written in the previous episodes, but you can reason it out if you’ve been following and you read the thriller.
Drop the phone number where you’ll like the card pin to be sent to alongside with your answers. God bless you. Tarasha drove unusually slow, for three reasons. Firstly, she was sure that Afo and his guys weren’t after them. The second reason was that she wasn’t with her phone, it had been seized by Afo’s men, so she had no GPS to find the right way home. The third and most important reason was Henry’s unconsciousness, she could not hit the main road that way without confrontation from the police or other security officials.
Tarasha began to notice a bike trailing slowly behind them. Could it be one of Afo’s men who was following them? She thought. Or was it just a coincidence.
Henry sneezed twice. Tarasha’s heart was gladdened and she quickly brought the car to a halt at front of a Catholic cathedral.
‘What… happened?’ Henry managed to ask as he sat up. He placed a palm on his forehead as he was suffering from a serious headache.
‘Some passersby came to our aid’ Tarasha lied.
‘Passersby? What about the police?’ Henry asked, joining her at the front seat. He didn’t wait for a reply before he continued. ‘Did they do anything to you?’ He asked taking Tarasha’s palms in his.
‘No’ she replied with a smile.
‘I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you’ Henry apologized with a sorry face but then, he noticed that Tarasha’s attention was divided. She was looking into the front mirror. ‘What’s that?’ Henry peeped to see what she was checking.
‘Nothing’ she covered up with a smile.
‘Are they still following us?’ Henry asked, undeceived by the smile.
Tarasha was not listening to him again, her eyes was on someone who was walking into the church compound beside them.
‘Can you give me just a minute?’ She said and opened the door. She stepped out in a hurry and followed into the cathedral’s gate.
Tarasha opened the gate slowly and walked in. Her eyes did the searching work, she could see several Reverend sisters walking in and out of the church. She spotted the man who dropped from the bike previously trailing their car. Somewhere by the right side, the man was on the floor with his face buried in his knees. The statue of a mother carrying a baby was right in front of him. She could hear him sobbing as she got closer.
Jefa could feel her approaching, he could hear the silent footsteps in his mind. He knew she would come, his spirit told him so. He turned back to face her with tears in his eyes, their eyes met.
Tarasha could not understand what she felt as their eyes met. The man’s eyes communicated so much longing, it seemed that he had just seen something he had been searching for ages. Tarasha’s closed her eyes and shook her head to wave off the feeling, it could just be a tactic of the enemy. She dipped her hand into her pocket and it touched the knife as she moved closer. A hand touched her shoulder.
‘Evelyn, what are you doing?’ Henry asked, staring at the man weeping few metres in front of her.
‘Nothing’ she turned back to face him, wiggling her hair backwards.
‘Let’s go please’ he took her hands in his and led her back.
‘Are we going back to Elymax?’ She asked.
‘No’ he gave her a surprised look. ‘We’ll go to the police station, then likely to the camera’s security corps house’
Tarasha sighed and followed him reluctantly. ‘I have a business deal to seal tomorrow’
Jefa sniffed in severally as he stared at them walking out. ‘Do they work in Elymax?’ He asked himself, as that was the only thing he got from their conversation. He got up from his knees slowly and followed after them outside the gate, ignoring the Reverend sister who was approaching him.
‘How come you found no one there?’ Sylvester barked at the officers. ‘The signal leads us directly to this place’
‘Maybe you should check again, the location may have changed’ an officer suggested calmly.
‘Or call the number’ another officer offered.
‘The number was not going through the last time I tried to call it’ Sylvester said, attempting to dial the number again.
‘Then you have to locate them again’
‘It’s connecting now’ Sylvester announced, hushing everyone. He brought out another phone which he could use to determine the location immediately the call was answered.
‘Mr Henry’ Sylvester’s eyes shone brightly as the call was answered. ‘Where are you?’ Sylvester asked, confirming the location on his second phone also. ‘Just find somewhere safe and wait there, we’ll meet you in ten minutes’
Mallam Jefa was still in his sober state when he returned to his store. His eyes were still full of tears as he walked in through the back door. Jefa noticed that there was no one in the store as he entered. All his goods were still intact except for some cups and plates that were displaced and found on the floor. That was unusual. He turned his gaze to the sitting area, it was sure from the look of things that his customers had left the place in commotion and panic. There were bottles of unfinished beer on the floor, unfinished food on the table, and packets of untouched cigarettes. Maybe a fight occurred, he thought. No, it couldn’t be a fight. Some people would have stayed back after settling the fight. Whatever it was, Jefa was less concerned now. He had just found his long lost sister.
He let out a deep sigh as he sank into one of the visitors seat and thronged his head backwards. Omotara had not only maintained the same face she had when she was young, she also maintained the same manner of walking and voice. Only that everything now looked and sounded mature.
*** FLASHBACK ***
May 17, 2014
Jeffery watched in tears as their house razed in flames, the remains of his parents and two younger brothers burning in it. He and the remnant of his family were put in a large bus with several other kids in it, most of them weeping uncontrollably for the loss of their families too. The bus had no seats except for the driver’s, so the kids were made to sit and lie on the ground.
Jeffery eyes met with his younger brother’s where the boy was kept in the same section with his age mates. The lad, who was next after Omotara had no tears in his eyes like the other kids, he just stood still with his arms folded, mouth pouted and a mean face.
Jeffery, as the oldest son felt the need to protect the remaining two left of his younger ones, but how he will do that was a mystery to him. With the mean looking men in the bus with them, he wasn’t even sure of where they were been taken to or what they were going to be used for.
Jeffery’s eyes kept wandering around and he found Tara, seated on the floor and soaked in her tears. The blood stains on her clothes were visible and thick enough to make one throw up at the sight.
The bus entered a pothole and shook, some of the kids who were standing fell heavily to the floor. Soon, a rhythmic cry soon begun from the set of younger ones. The terrorists had no problem with the noise, the bus was sound proof.
Jerry was still standing, he didn’t fall like the others, only a few staggers and he was back on his feet. Neither did he learn any lesson and decide to sit even when Jeffery was making signals for him to sit.
Jeffery got up and peeped through the window, a knock landed on his head, sending him back immediately. He held his head and winced in pain as he sat back on the floor. He glanced at one of his age mates who sat by his side and was pinching him. The look on the boys face was a question of what Jeffery saw outside.
‘They’ve taken us out of town already’ Jeffery whispered. ‘But I don’t know where they’re taking us to’
After some minutes, the bus came to a halt and the door was opened. Two of the men standing in the bus with them stepped out. Soon, Jeffery could hear the men speaking to some others in Hausa language which he couldn’t understand then.
The men returned into the bus after two minutes and began to usher out some of the kids. Jerry was one of the kids taken out of the bus. Jeffery stood up in panic and peeped through the window. The kids were being ushered into another bus, a smaller one.
‘Kai’ was all he heard as his head was hit by the butt of a gun. He began to see stars as he fell slowly to the floor, his eyes met with Omotara’s eyes and then he blacked out. That was the last time he saw his siblings.
He woke up several hours later to find himself laying on the floor in a room with other teenagers like himself. He struggled to sit up and glanced at their faces one after the other. He refrained from asking questions, it was obvious that they were all captives of the same terrorist group.
‘Are you crazy?’ A policeman stood at Jefa’s front shouting.
Jefa looked up and found himself surrounded by six officers. ‘What?’ He asked.
‘Are you Mallam Jefa, the owner of this store?’
‘Your attention is needed at our station’ the officer said as he brought the handcuffs forward
8am, next morning
Henry stretched and yawned like a new born baby on the bed. The event of the day before had weakened him so much that he had slept for almost twelve hours, something he had not done in years. He sat up and pressed the button beside the bed and the room was brightened by the white bulb. Henry’s mouth opened in surprise as he looked around the large room. He had been too tired to notice how large and beautiful the room was when he was ushered in the last night. He never imagined that there was such a well furnished room in the corporation’s quarters.
A phone rang on the stool beside the bed. He picked it up and checked the caller. It was an unsaved number. Who owned the phone and why was it by his side? He wondered. Maybe it was placed there for his use, he thought as he finally answered the call.
‘Good morning Mr Henry’ Sylvester’s voice came through.
‘Good morning sir’ Henry replied.
‘How was your night? Hope you’re feeling better right now?’
‘Yes, thanks. I’m feeling quite better’
‘Alright, I called to inform you that some officers would come and pick you guys for medical check up in twenty minutes time and they’ll likely ask you some questions about yesterday too’
‘But… How will they come pick us for check up in thirty minutes time? I’m just waking up and I’m feeling very hungry now’
‘Your bath water and breakfast has been prepared already. Go and inform your girlfriend about all I’ve said so that she can prepare too’
His girlfriend? Henry wondered as he got up from the bed. He knew that Sylvester was referring to Evelyn as his girlfriend and he smiled at the thought that people were already taking them to be lovers. He put on a shirt and a short and walked out of his room to the next room where Evelyn slept. He waved at the maids moving around as he faced the entrance of the room.
He let out a deep sigh before he rapped on the door and waited for a response. He knocked again after getting no response at the expected time, he leaned on the door and placed his ear to the door to listen if there was any movement in the room. He knocked again, this time louder. Could it be that Tarasha was still deeply asleep?
He placed his hand on the door knob and noticed that it was loose, a sign that the door was not locked. He turned it and opened the door slowly, poking his head in to peep. The room was neat and well kept but no one was in it. He walked further inside and closed the door behind. ‘Evelyn’ he called as he proceeded towards the bed. He checked the floor beside the bed, there was no sign of Evelyn. ‘Evelyn, are you in?’ He called again as he approached the restroom. He opened and entered into it, Evelyn was nowhere to be found. His heart began to beat faster as he proceeded out of the room.
‘Has anyone seen Evelyn this morning?’ He asked the maid cleaning up the living room.
‘The lady you came in with last night?’ The maid asked to be sure. Henry nodded. ‘She should be in her room. She just woke up when I was mopping the passage’
‘When was that?’ Henry asked.
‘About one hour ago, I saw her peeping outside through the door and I approached her to ask if she needed anything. She asked me to make her a cup of hot tea’
‘Is that all?’
‘Yes, I’ve not seen her since I made her tea.’ The maid paused and placed a hand on her waist. ‘Is she not in the room?’ She asked with a raised eyebrow.
‘Yes’ Henry replied as he dialed a number on the phone with him. ‘Join me check if she’s around the house’
Tarasha adjusted her skirt properly in front of the mirror and brushed her hair backwards before putting on the suit jacket. She sat on the bed to put on the heeled shoes and got up to check the mirror again. She was looking smart and ready for the meeting.
Her plan was simple. Strike a deal with the man and make him take her to his cotton farm which she had already sent Benny and Cole to survey and fix several possible escape routes for her. She had made her investigation and found out that the only place Jubril Lawal went without his bodyguard and thugs was his farms. That was the best place to end the man’s life without any struggle.
Tarasha sat back in the bed and placed her laptop on her lap, she opened it up and pressed the boot button. After the laptop came on, she opened her contact book and searched for Jubril’s number dialing it on the phone she had taken from the maid’s pocket in the camera’s corporation house.
‘Good morning Mr Jubril’ she said as soon as the call was answered.
‘Good morning Miss Evelyn’ Jubril recognised her voice immediately. ‘What happened to your line? I’ve been trying to reach you’
‘I lost the phone, I had to borrow someone’s phone to call you’
‘Oh! Sorry about that’
‘Thank you sir’ Tarasha said, clearing her throat. ‘I’ll be on my way for our meeting in few minutes time, I just want to…’
‘Humm…’ Jubril interrupted. ‘That’s one of the reasons I’ve been trying to reach you. The meeting would no longer hold this morning’
Tarasha sighed loudly.
‘I’m sorry but I sent something to your email since I couldn’t reach you on phone. My birthday is tomorrow and I’m organizing a banquet in the evening. Let’s meet there, maybe we can finalize our discussion immediately after the celebration’
‘Okay’ Tarasha seemed less enthusiastic. ‘How do I attend?’
‘Just check your email inbox, I’ve instructed my PA to forward every detail to you. I even asked him to organize a personal car that would bring you from your location to the venue’
‘Oh! Thanks. I’ll check my mailbox’ Tarasha said and ended the call. She flung the phone on the bed and bent to take off her shoes. Then she fell back into the bed, thinking. Jubril
Lawal’s case had tarried for long, the banquet was going to be a perfect opportunity for her. She began to draw up plans in her mind. She wouldn’t accept his transport plans, No. She would hire a car by herself and Cole would be the driver. ‘Evelyn is nowhere around ’ Henry said as he walked back into the house with his search party.
‘Did you check the whole compound?’ the voice at the other end asked.
‘Yes, I searched with the maids and the security men’ Henry answered, motioning back towards the room.
‘Okay, let me check what we have from the cameras’ Sylvester said before hanging up.
Henry was about to enter into his room when he looked at the door to Tarasha’s room and noticed that the position had changed from how it was left. He closed back the door and proceeded towards the room. He touched the knob, it was tight this time, it was locked. Had someone else gone in? Henry knocked.
The door was opened in few seconds and Henry was surprised to meet Tarasha still clothed in her night gown. His mouth was left agape.
‘Good morning’ she greeted first, leaving the door opened for him. She returned to the bed.
‘Where have you been?’ Henry walked in without responding to her greeting. ‘We’ve been searching for you everywhere’
‘I’ve been in this room’ Tarasha replied him, unperturbed.
‘But I was here some minutes ago, I searc…’
‘Yes, you searched everywhere in the room and also the restroom and you called my name several times without getting a response’ Tarasha interrupted.
‘Were you really in the room?’ Henry’s eyes widened.
‘Why were you searching for me?’ Tarasha asked, trying to change the topic.
A maid appeared at the entrance off the room, peeping through the opened door. She seemed surprise to see Tarasha.
‘Come’ Henry motioned her in. ‘Did you know she was in?’
‘I told you I saw her earlier today and that she should be in her room’
‘But I searched around and couldn’t find her’ Henry retorted. He turned to Tarasha, ‘were you really in the room?’
‘Yes’ Tarasha answered bluntly. ‘I was in the restroom, meditating’
‘Meditating?’ Henry repeated, still finding it hard to believe.
‘Yes, that’s why I couldn’t answer you, you don’t speak to anyone in the process’
‘Meditating? The Hindu way?’
‘Kind of’ Tarasha smiled.
‘That’s strange’ Henry frowned. ‘I thought you were not religious at all’
‘Ermm…’ Tarasha stammered. ‘But I do believe in meditation, it helps to calm the soul’
‘Mr Henry’ someone called from outside, diverting their attention. ‘The police officers are here to pick you’
‘You have to dress up and prepare, we are going for medical check-up’ Henry said to Tarasha as he left the room. The door was closed.
‘Thanks for your help’ Tarasha smiled at the maid.
‘No problem’ the maid smiled back.
‘Here’s your phone’ Tarasha said handing her a cellphone.
‘Alright, so when are you going to see me?’ The maid demanded for her payment as she took back her phone.
‘Humm…’ Tarasha stood up and dipped her hand into her pocket, like someone who was searching for money. Suddenly she grabbed the maid by the neck and injected a fluid into the maid’s arm. The maid fell down unconscious immediately. Tarasha dragged the body into the restroom and laid her on the floor, she brought out some money and stuck it into the maid’s pocket before leaving the restroom. The maid had been injected with benryl and would forget everything that happened in the last two hours by the time she woke up.
Henry continued to steal glances at Tarasha as they headed for the police station to take don their statement. The officer who drove the car drove slowly thereby prolonging the journey and the moment of silence between Henry and Tarasha.
Henry’s phone disrupted their peace. ‘Hello’ Henry answered the incoming call.
‘I couldn’t find anything on the tapes’ Sylvester said with a note of tiredness after being asked several times by Henry to check and cross check again.
‘Don’t bother, I didn’t check well, she was in the restroom’ Henry said, stealing a glance at Tarasha, their eyes met.
‘So why were you now disturbing me to cross check several times?’ Sylvester asked angrily.
‘Erm…’ Henry stammered. He couldn’t give an answer as he did not want Evelyn to get the impression that he was doubting her.
Tarasha gave a short smile which later turned into a frown. She understood his trick but was not bothered. It was just a day left for her to complete her mission and she would disappear from him and from Abuja. She’ll kill him immediately if he happens to resurface anytime or tries to cause trouble for her.
‘Oh!’ Henry exclaimed as Sylvester reminded him of the job he was supposed to give a report for by the next day. ‘Thanks for helping me start the job. I’ll report to the office once we leave the police station’
The drive to Division A lasted for fifteen minutes more. Evelyn and Henry were ushered into the station immediately. After taking down a written statement, they were ushered into another office for interrogation.
The interrogator, an officer in his early thirties walked into the room carrying a tablet device in his hands.
‘Hi, I’m officer Ken ’ He introduced himself, shaking the hands of the duo. ‘You’re Henry and Evelyn, right?’ The two nodded in agreement. ‘I want you guys to tell us all you know so that we can nab those criminals’ Ken continued, checking through his device for the list of questions he already compiled. ‘How were you taken?’ He began.
Henry started first. He explained how the kidnappers had dressed like policemen and come to arrest him with a fake Identity card, he also explained how they made him lead them to Evelyn. After him, Tarasha also gave her own account of the abduction.
Several other questions were asked after that and henry and Tarasha took turns to reply each question, most times individually.
‘Who were those that you say helped you?’ Ken asked one of his final questions.
‘The kidnappers let us go’ Tarasha said, surprising Henry.
‘They released you and gave you the car to leave with?’
‘Yes, I believe that they were ordered by the person who sent them. They released us after a big man entered and spoke in Hausa language to them’
‘Hmm…’ Ken sighed as he took down notes.
Henry was staring at Tarasha in surprise. She had told him that passersby helped them and not that they were freed by the kidnappers themselves.
‘The man was somewhat like a boss to them’ Tarasha quickly added. ‘He entered into the compound violently so I first thought that they were just passersby who heard our screams outside. It was later I realised that they were of the group’
Henry became calmer after Tarasha’s explanation but she still had some explanations to do to him. Why didn’t she tell him the whole story?
Ken gave a signal to one of the junior officers standing beside him. The junior officer nodded and left through the back exit. He returned in two minutes time with Mallam Jefa.
‘Was this man a part of the kidnappers?’
‘No’ Henry answered. He stared at Tarasha’s face for confirmation.
‘No, he isn’t’ Tarasha confirmed, staring at the man who she remembered was trailing behind them as they escaped.
‘Okay, you can process his release’ Officer Ken said to the junior officer.
‘Please, I have something to say’ Jefa shouted as the junior officer tried to take him away.
All eyes focused on Jefa. ‘Bring him back’ Ken said. Mallam Jefa was returned back to his position. ‘Yes, what do you want to say?’
Tears formed in Jefa’s eyes as he opened his mouth to begin. He let out a deep breath. ‘So what’s the Boss’s instruction now?’ Benny asked joining Cole and Aisha in the living room.
‘You are to act as a backup for her in the banquet, you step in case anything unexpected comes up. We’ll all be communicating through our devices, your Bluetooth piece should not leave your ear’
‘Okay. How do I get to attend the banquet?’ Benny asked, taking his seat. ‘I believe there’ll be a ban of entry of uninvited guests’
‘Tarasha would work out your invitation card, so you won’t encounter any problem entering into the hall’ Cole answered his questions before proceeding with the rest of the instruction to Aisha. ‘Your job is to monitor the switch off the streets cameras when if we give the order. There’ll be a tracker on the Lamborghini, you have to keep monitoring our location both with the cameras and the tracker. If you notice any strange movement or someone following us through the streaming, you have to let us know immediately’
‘Boss is almost doing this job individually’ Benny commented.
Aisha hissed playfully. ‘So don’t you like it like this? You want us to be so involved like we were in the last job? Her methods are so daring and dangerous’
‘Yes, so dangerous but I do think I love them’ Cole said thoughtfully.
‘Yes, I’m beginning to love her methods too. Its making us gain more experience’ Benny added.
‘Too dangerous’ Aisha insisted with a playful frown on her face.
‘Lazy girl, just make sure you do your job well tomorrow’ Cole teased as she walked away from the living room. He turned to Benny with a serious face, looking like he just remembered something important. ‘Benny, there’s something I’ve not told you. The banquet is taking place at Jubril Lawal’s mansion and there may be serious security protocols there. One very important thing the Boss wants you to do is to smuggle in the guns she might be making use of. You have to find a way to pass through the security stands without the machines detecting you have guns with you’
‘Wow! How am I supposed to do that?’ Benny widened his eyes. ‘That would only happen if I’m able to get to the control base of the security doors and deactivate the detecting of metals’
‘If that’s the only option, then you have to do it’
‘Huh?’ Benny stared at him in surprise. ‘Do you know how many security guys would be present at Jubril Lawal’s doorpost? Am I supposed to fight all of them?’
‘Eh!’ Cole hushed him. ‘Stop whining already. I believe the Boss has her own plans. Her instruction was that I should tell you to begin to think of a way to do it’
Benny shook his head in disbelief. Cole continued talking, ‘she also said you have to come in first without any gun and find her during the party, she’ll give you more instructions’
‘Can’t she take in the guns herself?’ Benny asked.
‘She won’t be free to move in and out of the party. Remember she’s a special guest and would have a lot of business people to meet and friends to make’ Cole answered.
Benny sighed. ‘Don’t get all worked up Ben, she only wants to get you prepared. I’m sure she’ll be able to get the job done without guns’
‘Then why is she asking for guns then?’
‘Because she doesn’t want to take chances’ Cole slammed at him. He was getting irritated by Benny’s sissy behaviour.
‘Why the hell is she even passing information through you to me?’ Benny shouted back.
‘Her phone is lost and she has only my number offhand’ Cole replied, purposely to taunt Benny.
Benny hissed. He got up from the sofa and began to walk away slowly, shaking his head. Her ways were too dangerous truly. How does she expect him to take in guns past machines that were designed to detect them?
‘What do you have to say?’ Inspector Ken repeated to Jefa.
‘She..sh..sh..’ Jefa stammered and paused again, facing Tarasha.
‘She did what?’ Ken snapped impatiently.
‘She was the one who drove out the car yesterday, I saw her’ Jefa finally said, rushingly.
‘Is that all?’ Ken asked.
Jefa nodded. ‘Please take him back and return his belongings to him, let him go’ Ken dismissed the junior officer.
‘That man sells food and drinks just at the front of the building you were kept in’ Ken said to Tarasha and Evelyn just as Jefa and the junior officer left.
‘Oh! I see…’ Henry muttered.
‘So, who do you suspect?’ Ken directed his question toward Henry.
‘Ermm… I do have suspects from two sides. First, from Samantha Osman’ Henry began. Tarasha glanced at his face.
‘Which Samantha Osman?’ Ken asked.
‘Same unpopular one, who carried out two notable assassinations recently’
‘Okay, go ahead’ Ken relaxed back on his chair to listen.
‘I’ve been working on locating her recently, that’s why I was brought to Abuja’ Henry continued. ‘She might have gotten signals of my job and decided to come for me’
‘She killed the officers and the special US agent that tried to locate her the other time. Why did she now free you after capturing you first?’
‘I believe it’s because she found out that I’m no longer working on locating her’
‘You’re no longer working on that?’
‘Yes, it’s complicated, we had to quit it. We’re working on blocking her from manipulating the CCTV systems for now’
‘Hmmm…’ Ken leaned forward. ‘Who is the other suspect?’
‘Dare Jubril Lawal’ Henry looked into Evelyn’s eyes as he mentioned
‘Huh? Why is he a suspect?’
Henry stared at Evelyn, as if to askfor confirmation whether to go on or not. The look in her eyes discouraged him. ‘He threatened me recently’ henry gave an indirect reason. ‘He thinks I’m dating Evelyn here’
‘Hmm? She isn’t your girlfriend?’ Ken asked in surprise. ‘The report we got was that you were kidnapped alongside with your girlfriend’ He turned to Evelyn.
‘I’m not his girlfriend’ Evelyn spoke, mentioning her words slowly, one after the other. ‘We’re friends who just met recently’ she glanced at Henry. Henry nodded in confirmation.
‘Unbeleivable!’ Ken exclaimed. Correcting his previous notes on his tablet device. After sometime, he looked up again. ‘Do you have proof that could link him to the kidnap? Any proof?’
‘No’ Henry shook his head sadly.
‘Then we just have to investigate properly first before accosting him. Stepping on the toes of someone like Jubril Lawal is like stepping on the government toes itself’
‘I understand’ Henry shook head slowly.
Henry was sitting alone in the living room on the three sitter sofa, he was occupied with something on his laptop. He didn’t quickly take note when Tarasha walked in. His eyes were still fixed to the laptop’s screen until Tarasha sat beside him.
‘Hi’ Tarasha signaled.
‘Hey’ he smiled back.
‘What are you doing? I see you’ve been quite busy since morning’ She said, shifting closer to him to peep into the laptop.
‘Yeah, I’ve been trying to conclude some leftover jobs. I have to give a report this evening’
Tarasha rested back after finding nothing meaningful to her on the laptop’s screen. ‘Well, I’ll be leaving for the banquet by four thirty pm’
‘Oh!’ Henry took a quick glance at his wristwatch. ‘So you still insist on going?’
‘Yes. I have to conclude the deal, that’s what I’m in Nigeria for’
Henry paused. He turned to Tarasha and stared deeply into her eyes for some seconds. ‘I have this feeling that I’ve met you somewhere else before’ he said, returning to his laptop. ‘Something in your voice tells me so’
Tarasha chuckled. ‘Maybe, in your dreams’
‘Well, maybe’ Henry picked an opened jotter and stared at a phone number written in it. ‘I would have loved to come with you but I can’t stand coming in contact with that murderer again and most important is this job that I need to finish this night’
‘It’s okay, I understand. I’ve arranged for a driver to take me there’ Tarasha replied.
‘Just be careful’ Henry warned.
Tarasha smiled. ‘Put your mind at rest, you have nothing to worry about’ she said. She frowned as her eyes suddenly caught something on Henry’s jotter. It was the phone number Cole had used to call Jubril Lawal and act her father, Alexander Amaechi.
She stylishly moved closer to Henry and placed her head on his shoulder, peeping into the laptop.
Henry was surprised, she had not come close to him like that for sometime. He inhaled deeply as he perceived the soothing fragrance from her body. She placed her hand on his chest and ran it under his button. He felt a tickling sensation.
‘I wish you could follow me to the banquet’ Tarasha said, looking into his eyes. She needed something to distract him from finishing the job or else he’ll be disrupting her operation that night.
‘But I can’t’ Henry replied, astonished, she never sounded like she wanted his company before.
‘Can’t you postpone this job and submit tomorrow?’ Tarasha pleaded.
‘That’ll be difficult, I already promised today’
‘But you can tell them that you have some thing to attend to tonight and that you’ll give a report tomorrow morning’
Henry took away her hand from his chest and turned face to his. He stared at her with doubt in his eyes. ‘Why do you suddenly want me to come with you?’
Tarasha looked away from him. ‘I just felt like I’ll be needing your company’
‘But you didn’t feel like that before’ Henry said, taking the laptop off his lap. ‘And you said you’ll be going with a driver’
‘Yes, but I need a friend’ Tarasha said childishly and clutched to his chest again.
Henry let out a deep breath. He had been looking for an opportunity to hang out with her, could this be the right time? Was his work worth postponing for her?
He was feeling strange about her request but his desire to go out with her beclouded his reasoning.
‘You also said that it’s a ticketed event?’
‘I have an extra ticket already’ she put in quickly.
He let out another deep breath and wrapped his hands around her. Tarasha felt deep warmth within her, that was a sign that he had fallen for her trick.
Dare drove straight to the car park as he entered in through the gate of Orex recreational centre. He parked in a good position as directed by the marshalls and spent some few more minutes in the car before opening the door and stepping out. He looked around for any sign of those he had an appointment with. His phone beeped.
‘In the garden’ the text message from Afo read. Dare locked the doors carefully and looked around to locate the garden. He put on his face cap and proceeded at once as he located the garden.
‘Mr Dare’ a voice spoke softly to him as he stepped into the garden. He turned to see the person.
‘Over there’ the man said, pointing him to we here Afo and Audu were seated. Dare walked over to them immediately. He stood beside Afo’s seat for a minute without saying anything or getting any word from his hosts.
‘What’s the plan tonight?’ Afo finally asked.
‘I should be asking you that question’ Dare retorted.
Afo smiled. He turned to face Dare and stared at him without saying anything.
Dare took his face away from the gaze. ‘All I know is that she would be present in the banquet today. You must find a way to take her and make sure she leads you to the guy’ Dare spoke angrily and then paused. He dipped his hand into his pocket and brought out a picture. He threw it towards Afo and it landed on the floor. ‘That’s both of them in the picture, in case you don’t recognize them anymore’
Afo stamped his feet angrily on the floor and got up as if to pounce on Dare, but he was restrained by an unknown inner strength and Audu’s constant warning stare at him. ‘Wetin dey work you now, Dare?’ Afo spoke angrily in pidgin. ‘No be today we don dey deliver for you, why you con dey do like person wey no know me before’
‘That’s what you’ll say, what if I’ve been already implicated by your silly mistake?’
Afo returned to his seat and remained silent for another couple of seconds. He picked up the picture and carefully examined it before tucking it into his pocket. ‘No worry, we go handle the job tonight, we go carry the girl’
Dare cleared his throat and was about to walk away when Audu spoke. ‘Wait’ Audu said and got up from his seat. ‘Why don’t you let’s tweak the plan a little bit?’
‘How?’ Dare turned back, somehow interested.
‘Trying to use the girl in tracing the guy may not work, that girl seems stubborn and quite difficult to handle’ Audu paused and glanced at Afo. Afo nodded in agreement. ‘She may not lead us to him’
‘Oh’ Dare exclaimed under his breath.
‘I think we should drop her immediately’ Audu said. Dare and Afo stared at him in disagreement. ‘We’ll keep the dead body in the guy’s house to implicate him’ Audu quickly added to ease the tension. ‘He’ll never come out of the trouble’
‘Hmmm’ a slight smile began to appear on Afo’s face. He glanced at Dare who was also smiling and nodding his head as he reasoned the idea.
‘Sounds nice’ Dare said, smiling at Audu as he took a quick glance at his wristwatch. ‘I’ve got to go now, please make sure the job is done that way’ Dare said with a note of finality and walked away briskly.
‘My driver is outside already’ Tarasha called to Henry as she stepped out of the bedroom and walked into the living room.
‘Okay, I’m ready’ Henry answered from his room. He came out to join Tarasha in the sitting room few seconds later.
He stood speechless at the centre of the living room as she turned to face him. He had never seen such beauty emanating from anyone else. Even with very little makeup, her fitted short blue gown made her look more stunning than all winners which the Miss World Beauty Pageant had ever produced put together. He let out a very deep breath as she stared at him too.
As if he was aware that she was going to put on blue, he also adorned himself in a deep blue suit and a white inner shirt with a butterfly bow tie to complement it.
‘Oh! I’ve been with God’s most beautiful Angel without knowing it’ Henry exclaimed as he moved closer to her.
He could inhale the attractive accent of her perfume as he got closer to her. He placed his hands around her waist and stared into her face. She returned his stare as she placed her hands on his shoulder.
Henry held his breath as his eyes met her inviting lips, he felt her hold hers too. His heartbeat increased, he could hear hers drumming loud too.
DJ Basky rocked the atmosphere with old school music from veteran artistes like Tu-face, styl plus, Eldee and a host of others. The hall was set with about 25 tables with four chairs around each. Space was left in the middle of the hall for dancing and other special performances.
The MC, fifty two years old comedian AY, stepped into the stage exactly twenty minutes past five to kick off the party. He called the attention of the guests who were already chatting and getting to each other.
He encouraged them to settle down as the party before he began to opening prayer.
Jubril Lawal entered the hall with his son immediately the opening prayer began. He was dressed in a shiny black tuxedo suit, a white shirt underneath and a black bowtie. He had a fancy walking stick in his hands. Dare was also dressed in a tuxedo suit, he wore a black hat to complement his.
They motioned towards the table reserved for them in the middle and settled there, occupying two seats and leaving the other two empty. The party continued.
Cole occasionally stole glances at Tarasha and Henry through the top mirror as he drove them down the road. The journey was steady as the traffic was minimum.
The tension between the two at the back was obvious to Cole, but Henry was the more tensed one. He looked like someone who had just been caught stealing red handed. Tarasha on the other hand was chewing gum slowly and looking out through the window.
‘What is this place called?’ Cole could hear Tarasha whisper to Henry.
‘Asokoro’ Henry answered briefly.
‘Is everything alright?’ Tarasha asked, noticing his demeanor.
‘Yes, I’m fine’
‘You don’t look so’ Tarasha placed a hand on his knee and rubbed it gently.
Henry took her hand in his and looked into her eyes. ‘I’m sorry’ he stated.
‘Sorry about what?’ Her eyes shone mockingly at him.
‘I didn’t mean to…’ Tarasha cut him short as she covered his mouth with hers and engaged him in a deep kiss.
Henry gladly welcomed it this time since she was the initiator. He had felt embarrassed when she broke away from him quickly after he placed his lips on hers back in the house. Since then, she refused to mention a word to him until now.
It took Cole’s clearing of his throat for them to break off from the kiss. Cole’s eyes met with Tarasha through the top mirror, he was waiting for orders as they had already arrived at the event venue.
‘Oh! We’re there already’ Tarasha rested back and straightened her cloth as they paused at the gate. Two security officials searched the car before allowing them entrance. They were handed a pass ticket
‘I think she’s here’ Audu said aloud to the other occupants of the security room. He was cross checking the picture on his hand with the person in the video. ‘She came with the boy’ Audu added as Afo joined him.
‘Who’s that?’ Sanyi, a dark muscular man with a stout figure asked, trying to select the captured area on his laptop. Sanyi was the head of security operatives in the events centre.
‘Nothing, just a lady that the boss asked us to keep tabs on’ Afo replied quickly to prevent further questioning. He turned to Audu and spoke in low tones. ‘The guy’s presence makes things easier for us, or what do you think?’ Audu nodded in agreement.
A couple dressed in deep blue attires stepped out of a Lamborghini. They locked hands and began to walk away from the car park towards the hall.
They walked out of coverage of the camera capturing them. Audu minimized the selected footage to the dashboard where several other footages from other cameras could be selected. He first clicked on one which was capturing the couple’s backside, he and Afo zoomed the video and studied their targets from the back view. Another footage which showed their front view was selected and Audu made two screenshots.
‘Return to clip two’ Afo said to Audu. Audu rolled the mouse at once and selected the previous footage where the couple stepped out of the car. A black range rover had been parked beside it and the occupants of the range rover were stepping out.
‘Looks like the driver is still inside that car, we need to go check’ Audu said to Afo.
‘Yeah, I’ll call Blade to check out the car for us now’ Afo said, taking out his phone.
Cole adjusted the car seat and rested his head properly. He released the tie on his neck and unbuttoned the top of the shirt. He then took out his tablet device and powered it . The device was still booting when he began to notice someone’s reflection on the screen when turned upward rightly. He sat up and took a look at the side mirror. A tall guy dressed as a security official was scrutinizing the car. Their eyes met.
The tall guy walked up to the car, Cole wind up the glass and sat upright as he waited for him.
‘Good evening sir’ the tall guy bent to talk to Cole through the window.
‘Evening sir’ Cole replied, wondering what the man wanted.
‘May I see your pass please?’ The man requested.
Cole picked up the card from the rack and showed it to the man. The guy nodded for him to keep it after validation.
‘Are you going to be staying here?’ The guy asked again.
‘No, I’ll be leaving in few minutes’
‘Please do, we don’t allow people loiter around or remain in park’
‘It’s okay, I’ll leave in the next five minutes’
‘Thanks’ the man tapped the car playfully and left.
Cole smiled. Just another security officer doing his job, he thought.
‘Wow, another round of applause for the poet, I’ve not seen such a beautiful art performance for a long time ‘ AY the MC said as the crowd reacted with another thunderous applause.
‘Well, while the dance was going on, some very important people walked into this hall’ AY continued. ‘Very important people to us and to the nation at large. First of all, I’ll like to recognize the present of our minister of information, Mr Dimeji Saki’ the guests responded with a thunderous applause as Dimeji Saki got up and waved at the crowd.
‘Also with us this night is the wife of the most honorable celebrant, Tomi Jubril’ AY continued. A lady in her late fifties who had just joined Jubril and Dare on the table got up and waved at the crowd.
‘Right now, we’ll move to another round of …’ AY suddenly paused and stared towards a couple walking in through the entrance. The audience also followed his gaze and all attention was turned to the couple with a matching blue attire.
‘Another round of presentation’ AY continued with a smile. The couple were definitely one of the best dressed people for the event. What made theirs unique was their choice of color. AY introduced the next performing acts and left the stage.
Evelyn and Henry who looked embarrassed at their attraction of attention quickly motioned to the table the ushers directed them to. They sat in gently after greeting a few people who were still staring at them.
‘Your friend’ Jubril Lawal smiled at Dare as they all looked in direction of the couple.
‘Yeah, I didn’t know she was going to be coming’ Dare faked a smile.
‘I sent her an invite, then she called to request for another, for a friend’ Jubril continued, chewing the pan cracker as he spoke.
‘Who’s she?’ Lola Jubril asked, taking another look towards Evelyn’s direction. She couldn’t get a clear view as Evelyn’s table was far from theirs which was in front.
‘A friend I helped connect with Daddy’ Dare answered.
‘A friend? I thought you were working on her?’ Jubril cut in.
‘Working on her? As in?’ Dare stared at his Dad.
‘Come on, you know what I mean’ Jubril replied back.
Dare took a glance at his mum who was staring at him and patiently waiting for an answer.
‘She has a boyfriend already Dad, that guy is her boyfriend’ Dare answered.
‘Boyfriend? The guy looks Nigerian to me. I thought she just arrived in Nigeria few weeks ago’ Jubril said with a note of doubt.
‘Yes, they just met recently’ Dare struggled to say. ‘They’ve not known each other for long’
‘And you gave up my boy? Because someone else showed up?’ Jubril questioned.
‘I…’ Dare was trying to find words but was rescued by the Indian dancers who had just come on stage, their music filled the air and the entry dance caught the crowds attention.
‘Hey, Miss Evelyn Alex’ A guy in a black suit joined Henry and Tarasha’s table, smiling. ‘It’s nice to see you again’ he said as he stretched his hand to her for an handshake.
Tarasha smiled back at him. ‘Good evening Mr James, it’s my pleasure to see you again’
‘Wow! Who do we have here?’ James turned to Henry and smiled, offering him an handshake. ‘You’re a very lucky man I must say’
‘He’s Henry, my friend’ Evelyn introduced. ‘Henry, please meet Mr James’
‘Nice to meet you sir’ Henry smiled as he took the handshake.
‘Just a friend?’ James asked, rolling his eyes.
‘No, more than a friend actually’ Evelyn answered, glancing at Henry’s face. ‘A special one’
‘I see’ James blinked and sat upright. ‘Have you seen the exhibition for Julal stakeholders and partners?’ James asked Evelyn.
‘No’ she answered, looking interested.
‘Do you have your partner’s card?’
‘We could go there now if you wish’
‘Oh!’ Evelyn stared at Henry’s face for some seconds.
‘Come on, you may go. I’ll just wait for you’ Henry said with a smile.
‘We’ll be right back then’ Evelyn said and got up from the seat, she dipped her hand into her bag and took out her purse. James took her by the hand and motioned her in the right direction.
Henry felt a pinch of jealousy as he watched them leave. He took a sip from the juice on his table and turned to face the stage, distracting himself with the performances.
‘She’s gotten up from her seat and it seems she’s headed outside the main hall with the other guy’ Audu said to Afo.
Afo moved closer to Audu and stared into the screen. ‘Who’s that guy?’
‘I’ve never seen him’ Audu replied.
‘Blade’ Afo called, turning away as he spoke into his Bluetooth device. ‘The girl has left her seat and she’s heading towards…’ Afo paused and glanced at Audu.
‘The hall entrance’ Audu answered.
‘The hall entrance’ Afo spoke back into the device. ‘There’s a guy with her, find out who he is’
‘This girl is up to something’ Audu commented, suddenly taking more interest. ‘Imagine, she’s identifying and looking straight into all the cameras, as if she’s aware that someone is watching her’
Afo walked back quickly to the computer to confirm what Audu was saying. ‘What’s she doing there? That’s the main hall security room’ Afo said, touching the screen.
Henry remained sitting, waiting patiently for Tarasha’s return. He glanced at his wristwatch, it was over thirty minutes gone. He took a look around the hall to see if he spot her anywhere but he didn’t. He had to take out his phone as the presentations were already looking boring to him because he was watching alone.
For a minute after he took out the phone, the phone underwent what seemed like endless vibrations and beeping as different notifications dropped in. He smiled, his phone had located the four hidden cameras in the hall and was showing them their location. He looked at the locations provided by the app on his phone to confirm the accuracy. It was accurate as usual.
Maybe, he could connect to their servers and find out Tarasha’s location. A thought came into his mind. He waved it off. That would mean hacking into their systems and he hadn’t been given permission to do so, therefore, it would be illegal.
His mind drifted back again to what happened at the house before they left for the party. He could remember the sweetness of her lips, how he wished he could go further then and how she cut it short by breaking away. He also remembered how the driver had cut the second chance short too. He smiled to himself. He began to fantasize about her body, his eyes pictured her thighs that were revealed under the short gown. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he pictured himself holding her figure eight waist and taking off her clothes gently.
‘Hey! Young man’ someone broke him away from his thoughts.
His eyes popped open quickly and he found Jubril Lawal standing in front of him. It seemed like the man had been trying to get his attention for a long time.
‘Good evening sir. Happy birthday’ Henry quickly got up and greeted with a smile.
‘Thank you young man’ Jubril replied back with a smile. ‘Where’s the young lady you were seated with?’
‘Sh… She went with a friend to the exhibition’ Henry stammered as he spoke.
‘The exhibition?’ Jubril squinted. He took a look at the bodyguard who was with him and whispered. ‘I thought the exhibition ended a long time’ The guy nodded in confirmation.
‘Yes, she went there’ Henry replied, ignoring what he heard Jubril whisper.
‘Why didn’t you go with her?’ Jubril asked.
‘I don’t have a partner’s card’ Henry smiled.
Jubril frowned. ‘You don’t need a partner’s card to be part of the exhibition. You can participate as long as you have an invite to this banquet’
Henry just stared in confusion, not knowing what to say.
‘Alright, tell her to see me once she returns’ Jubril said and made way to leave the table.
‘I’ll do that sir’
Benny straightened up himself and made way to leave the restroom without disguising as the blind man. He had to find out who was watching him first.
He paused and looked around as he walked out through the door. He saw several people hanging around, it was hard to select anyone as the suspect. He began to walk slowly, still watching carefully in the process. He noticed a man in the security uniform who was previously engrossed with his phone look up as he began moving. That was his prime suspect. He was sure the man was the one watching him.
But why? He couldn’t figure out any reasonable reason. Was it that the security officials had began to suspect he and Tarasha’s movement? He wiped his face and continued, proceeding to the spot where he and Tarasha had gone their separate ways.
‘Dare!’ Evelyn screamed happily and jumped on his body.
Dare was flabbergasted. He wasn’t expecting her to smile at him, talk more of a tight embrace. He could feel her rub her frontal region on him, his manhood shivered. His brain began to divert from his main purpose.
Just then, a lady hissed and pushed Tarasha away from the entrance, rushing to the restroom. Tarasha reasoned out that she was really pressed and was the first person to knock the door before Dare showed up. A man dressed in different kind of security uniform was standing with Dare. One could tell that he worked with the cameras security with the logo on his shirt.
‘Why did you have to lock the main door?’ The man directed his question to Tarasha angrily.
‘It’s okay’ Dare was the one who hushed him.
‘I’m sorry’ Tarasha said, she touched the Bluetooth device on her ear. ‘I’m not used to this system and the music playing from my device also did not let me hear the knocking quickly’
The guy turned his face to Dare as if he was waiting for orders. ‘Go back to the security room, tell your boss that I’ll be with him in some minutes.’ The guy turned and left after giving Tarasha another bad look.
‘Oh!’ Tarasha engaged Dare in another deep hug again, this time she added a peck on his lips. Dare who was a womanizer and sex addict himself quickly fell for the trick. ‘Can we go somewhere we can stay alone?’ Tarasha asked softly.
Dare nodded. ‘Yes, there are free rooms around’. He took Tarasha’s hand in his and began to lead the way. They passed through the entrance of the event hall where Benny was standing and some other guests were still socializing. Benny and Tarasha’s eyes met and communicated. Benny understood what she told him with her eyes; to be patient and wait for the next order.
‘Blade, what’s up?’ Audu asked impatiently as Blade walked into the security room.
‘Where’s the girl?’ Afo added, stretching his neck from his seat to see if anyone was coming behind Blade.
‘I don’t know what’s wrong with Dare’ Blade complained bitterly, unbuttoning his security uniform as he sank into the seat next to Audu. ‘It seemed he’s changed his mind about the girl again’
‘What?’ Afo exclaimed. He got up from his seat and turned back to face Blade.
‘You gave him a seductive hug and he lost his senses’ Blade stated. ‘I could see the bulge formed on his trouser. They should be on the way to a secret place now’
Audu stopped listening to Afo and Blade and turned to the computer set in front of him. He click on an app icon which processed and then showed the cameras clips in the usual DVD selection mode. His eyes did the searching quick, he spotted the clip capturing them and clicked on it. They were at the back of the hall, chatting with Jubril Lawal.
Audu quickly got up from his seat and straightened his shirt. ‘Where are you heading to?’ Afo asked him.
‘To talk some sense into Dare’s head’ Audu spoke without pausing, be barge out of the room.
Afo and Blade moved their focus to the computer screen and watched Jubril speaking with Dare and Evelyn who were holding hands.
‘Hey, see who we’ve got hanging out here’ Jubril Lawal approached them smiling.
‘Dad’ Dare paused.
‘Good evening sir. Congratulations’ Tarasha greeted, taking his handshake.
‘Thanks Miss Evelyn’ Jubril smiled. ‘I can see you both are off to somewhere, I stop you but make sure we meet and talk in the next thirty minutes. The party won’t span for long’ Jubril said and walked away to meet another guest who was waiting for him. Tarasha and Dare smiled at each other as they made way to continue.
Dare’s smile was of one who was itching to sleep with his new catch while Tarasha, a fatigue person eager to get rid of her trouble.
Another guy in security uniform bumped into them as they took two more steps. ‘Dare, can we see?’ He said and without waiting pulled Dare away to a reasonable distance.
Tarasha smiled, she knew what was going on. She knew they would attempt an attack at the party and she was prepared for them. She glanced at her wristwatch, her expected package should be delivered in no less than one minute time. She looked around for any sign of the deliverer, there was none yet.
‘What that hell is wrong with you?’ Audu spoke angrily, but making sure his voice was lowered. ‘You’re disrupting our plans’
‘That girl has dangerous plans, I tell you. Do you want to say you believe that she doesn’t suspect you were behind the abduction?’ Audu asked and paused to wait for a reply. He got none except for a pity look on Dare’s face. ‘How come is she acting like she’s hungry for you?’
Dare scratched his head. The hardness formed under his trouser had begun to decline. He suddenly remembered that he was going to lead Evelyn into their trap before she gave him a hug. He looked back and his eyes met with Evelyn’s, she gave him another seductive smile. But he waved it off this time and turned back to Evelyn.
‘You’re going to go back to her now and pretend as if nothing happened’ Audu continued, raising his eyebrow. He took a glance at Tarasha who had stopped a server and was serving herself from the champagne bottle on the tray. ‘Bring her to us, we’re waiting’ Audu concluded and walked away, in the same direction he was headed for before he met them. He was going to take another route back to the security room.
Dare cleared his throat and tried to put on a smile as he turned back. He hurried back to Tarasha who was drinking from a champagne glass and discussing with the server.
‘Care for a cup?’ Tarasha asked him.
‘No, thanks’ he refused with a smile as he sized the bum of the lady in the short server’s gown with his eyes. ‘We better start going now’
Tarasha placed back the glass cup on the tray and winked at the server as she followed Dare. She could notice even though he tried to cover up that his countenance had changed.
‘Yeah, good. I trust Audu’ Afo said with a smile as he watched Audu speaking with Dare on the screen.
‘I hope he’ll be able to talk some sense into Mr Dare’ Blade added.
‘I’m sure he would’ Afo reassured.
‘Let’s believe so’ Blade said. They stared back at the screen. Audu had finished talking with Dare and was walking away. Dare paused and took a deep breath before turning back and walking to Evelyn. Evelyn was taking a drink and discussing with the server. The server turned and took her leave after Dare dismissed her. Dare and Evelyn began proceeded further.
‘Audu, what’s up’ Afo spoke into his phone.
‘Dare is on his way there with her, I’m also returning now’ Audu replied back.
‘Okay’ Afo said and ended the conversation. ‘They’re coming here, let’s get ready’ Afo said to Blade.
Blade nodded without moving, it seemed like he was lost in thought. ‘Did you hear me?’ Afo stared at him.
‘That drinks server…’ Blade muttered, audible enough for Afo to hear in the silent room.
‘Yes, what about her?’
‘Did you see the face gesture the girl made to her before she left?’ Blade asked, moving closer to the computer, he held the mouse.
‘I didn’t see anything’ Afo said and put down the gun he was trying to load. He moved closer to the desktop again. Blade was rewinding the tapes.
‘Here’ Blade pointed at the screen. ‘Can you see her face’ Blade paused at the point where Tarasha made an eye signal to the girl who took the champagne tray away.
‘Can you take it back a little bit more?’ Afo requested with a serious look on his face.
Blade rewinding very slowly, making the tape play in slow motion. It returned to the point where Audu dragged Dare away from Evelyn and she stood alone. Soon, she smiled and the server appeared in her front, they began to talk in low tones. The server could be seen exchanging a small purse with Evelyn. Evelyn tucked in the purse into the purse she was holding before.
‘Damn!’ Afo slammed his hand on table. It was clear now, the server came to hand over not just a champagne wine but a weapon to Evelyn.
‘That girl is not ordinary, she has got her plans and we must stop her’ Afo said, rushing back to continue loading his gun. ‘Find out where she is now. I need to warn Dare and Audu’ Afo picked his phone and dialed. ++++
Henry still sat on his seat, lost in his own thoughts. He wondered why Tarasha had brought him to the party to abandon him and follow another guy, deceiving him that they went on exhibition. But… The kiss earlier that day. Was it fake? No, he felt it was real. He had never felt more real in his life.
He inhaled deeply as he poured some wine into the cup. He gulped it down immediately and began to stare into the empty cup, making faces as if someone was speaking to him from the cup.
He shook his head vigorously. Was the alcoholic wine already having effect on him. No, it couldn’t be. He had not taken too much yet. He rested his hand on the table and rested his chin on his palm, thinking of what to do.
After some seconds of hesitation, he finally got up and stretched his cloth, about to head for the exhibition to see if Evelyn was really there.
His eyes met someone walking towards his direction and discussing with another man as he turned back and left his chair. He quickly ran back to his chair and sat. He tried to cover a part of his face with one palm. The man came closer and sat at the table just behind Henry with his discussant. Henry could not stand up for the fear of being recognised.
Benny folded his arms and glued his gaze to the stage. He was the only one standing without a partner or a group of friends at the back. The security man following him had left and was nowhere to be found. Benny did not try to find out who he was, he remained calm but alert, ready to handle any situation that may require urgency.
A familiar scent drew closer to him, he couldn’t place where he knew the scent from. He looked around to see but found no one and nothing familiar. He returned his gaze to the party stage.
Benny could feel someone standing by his side but he didn’t care to look, he already saw the tray the person was holding and he was sure that it was one of the drinks servers.
‘Hello sir, you care for champagne?’ A familiar voice asked.
‘No, thanks’ Benny took a quick glance at her before rejecting her offer. He paused. He dropped his folded arms and her question played back in his mind. The voice. He turned back to her.
Benny opened his mouth wide in shock on seeing. She was frowning at him. ‘Aisha! ‘He exclaimed. ‘I think that there’s now need for a law banning makeups in the country. I didn’t almost recognize you anymore’
‘Shhh…’ Aisha hushed him. ‘You shouldn’t still recognize me. I just came to serve you drinks’
Benny nodded in understanding. He took a glass cup and took the champagne bottle to pour some of the contents. ‘So what are you doing here?’
‘Wrong question’ Aisha replied him, watching as Benny took a sip. ‘You should ask me why I’ve come to you’ she said as she brought out a paper. She pushed in the paper into Benny’s hand after making sure that no one was watching them.
‘Boss says you should kill the man if she doesn’t give any other instruction in thirty minutes ‘
‘Damn!’ He almost spilled the drink on his body. ‘How does she want me to do ? How would I get to the front where he’s seated, kill him and get away with all those bodyguards around there?’ He dropped back the cup on the tray.
‘Here’ Aisha dipped her hand into her pocket and handed out a nylon to Benny.
Benny eyes shone as he opened the nylon slightly. There was also a nose mask in it. ‘A grenade? We gonna bomb the whole place?’
‘No, check well. It’s not a bomb’
‘Where did you get it from?’ Benny asked, after confirming that it was different.
‘Boss prepared it yesterday by herself and gave it to me when we met. All instructions on how to use it are in the paper I gave you’
Benny took out the paper and opened to read.
‘You shouldn’t do that here’ Aisha cautioned him. He quickly returned it into his pocket. ‘There’s a bag in the male toilet , labeled B, it has a gun inside and a extra cloth for the boss. Make sure you get the cloth to her immediately after everything is done’
Aisha walked away immediately without looking back. Benny took a deep breath. He checked round to see if anyone was watching.
Dare led Evelyn silently up the stairs. They got to a section with a corridor of about forty metres long. Tarasha could sight four doors each on both sides as she got to the landing. Two uniformed security men stood in the corridor, each carrying long guns and having a short gun each by the left side. The first stood in between the first and second rooms while the second stood in between the third and fourth. Before the entrance of the corridor was a tag on the lintel.
“Out of bounds to non security cameras officials”
The men turned to face Tarasha and Dare as they approached. On seeing Dare, they remained calm.
Dare and the first security man greeted each other with a nod while Tarasha smiled at the man. As they walked past the man, his phone rang.
Tarasha began to reduce her walking speed gradually, forcing Dare to also reduce his. He paused and stared at her for an explanation.
‘Where are we going to?’ Tarasha asked him.
‘Come on’ he tried to fake a smile. ‘We’ll use one of the rooms here’
‘But these rooms are not bedrooms’ she argued. At this time, they were standing in between the doors of the second rooms. She glanced at the room by the right. It was jammed with a padlock, and with the other doors that had passed.
‘We are going to the third one’ Dare said, pointing to the third door by the right. Tarasha stared at the door. “Control Unit.” She turned her gaze to the third left door.
‘Come on, move’ Dare spoke harshly before she tried arguing with him again. His face was filled with wrath. ‘You think I’m a fool?’
He stretched forth his hands to grab her by the shoulder but she held his hand and twisted it. Dare screamed in pain, his arms had been left useless. The security man had finished with his call and was walking towards Tarasha and Dare.
Tarasha added a blow to forehead sending him sprawling on the floor. The security man pointed his gun at her.
‘I’ll blow off your head if you move’ he warned
She raised up her two hands as if to surrender and was stepping back slowly as the man moved closer.
‘Stop’ he commanded and she did. She could hear the footsteps of the security man her back approaching.
‘Put your hands behind you’ the second security man said detaching a handcuff from his belt.
He got closer and held her hand to fix the handcuff. Tarasha sent a heavy back-kick to his groin and dipped her left hand into his side to remove the pistol. She sent a bullet into the first security man’s chest before he could cock his gun and concluded with the second with the butt of the gun on his head.
‘Bravo! Bravo!’ Afo and Blade clapped their hands, approaching from the main entrance of the corridor where she and Dare passed through.
‘Who are you young lady?’ Afo asked mockingly.
‘I’m your nightmare’ she answered. She stood opened her purse which she had attached through the handle to her hand and took out something like a scissors.
‘Ha ha ha’ Afo laughed in reply. He stopped and began to sound serious again. ‘We’ve been watching you all through and we know what you’ve got in that purse. Who are you and what do you really want?’
‘I don’t have time to chat’ Tarasha answered. ‘I don’t have any business with both of you. I’ve forgiven you for kidnapping me’ she smiled. ‘I only want to do something in your security cameras room’
‘Oh dear! You only want to do something in our security cameras room’ Afo mimicked, he and Blade walking slowly towards her. Both of them paused to look at Dare who was still wincing in pain on the floor. They ignored him and continued. ‘Why do you think its called security? You think anyone can just enter and do something?’
‘I don’t want to do it with force’ she said.
Afo smiled. ‘But we can’t help you with that. We don’t have access to the place also’
‘You do’ Tarasha pointed at Blade.
‘He was in the security cameras office few minutes ago’
‘Me?’ Blade stared at her mockingly. He stopped walking and Afo stopped after him and took out his gun. They were standing both few centimeters to her.
‘I placed a tracker on you when you came with Dare to the restroom’ she smiled back mockingly.
Blade began to check his clothes for the tracker, Afo too was distracted and began to search Blade’s body with his eyes.
In a split second, Tarasha cut down her gown from the chest with the scissors she had taken out. She removed it from her body and threw it at them covering their faces. She sprayed the duo with bullets from the gun she collected from security man. Blade went down immediately while the mighty Afo still struggled to stand. He took the cloth off his face and tried to raise his gun up. Tarasha finished him off with a bullet into his forehead.
‘That easy’ Tarasha smiled and murmured to herself as she turned back. She had striped herself to an inner singlet, and a bum short. She emptied some of the contents of her purse into the pockets of the shorts.
She turned back again on hearing a sound. Dare was still on the floor. She hissed and sent a bullet to his head.
She headed for the third room which had the “Control Unit” tag. Ready for the last phase, all she needed was to erase from the database all the cameras had captured that day and also deactivate for some hours to allow them complete the task without recording.
She touched the door knob, it was opened. She didn’t know someone was in, waiting and prepared for her. Audu.
Henry hurriedly gulped down another cup of wine in frustration. He was already getting worked up and was wishing that he never came to the party.
The person who brought him to the party had left him to seat alone for almost two hours without returning. His plan to go check on her was obstructed by someone that he wasn’t expecting who just emerged from nowhere, the client who had given him the job of tracking the Canadian number. He never thought that the client could also be an invitee at this party, he had called him earlier to give an excuse that he was sick and needed to rest, so he wouldn’t be able to finish the job till the next day. So how would he explain that his sickness could allow him to party but not to complete a job he had already received money from.
Henry bit his lips and shook his head in regret as he heard a roaring laughter from the man discussing with his client at the table behind him. The discussants rose up from their seats. They kept on talking as that moved closer to Henry’s seat. Henry turned his face to the opposite direction and covered it with his hand.
‘For you, it’s easy na’ Henry heard the second man say to his client. ‘You’re Chief Jubril’s PA’
‘It’s not that easy, people just…’ His client was saying as the moved out of earshot.
Henry’s eyes widened in surprise as he digested the information he overheard. His client was Jubril’s PA?
Justis mind flashed back to the day the job was brought. He remembered clearly the man saying that they had received a call from a business partner with the Canadian number but they were doubting if it was real or not.
Evelyn was striking a business deal with Jubril tonight and she is from Canada. Could she be the same person whose number was being investigated? He thought.
His mind made another flashback. The look on Evelyn’s face when he was typing in the number from his notepad. He had ignored that look as nothing before, since there was no reason for suspicion but now everything began to make sense to him.
After she saw the number was when she changed and started talking to him about going with her to the party. He remembered how she had also began to rub her hands against his chest at that moment she was trying to convince him. Could Evelyn be a criminal? Could she be a fraudster?
Henry poured in some wine into the cup and gulped it down immediately. He pushed away the plate of which he had been served.
His mind returned to how he met Evelyn, how she had gotten him into trouble the first day. He also remembered the day he met her and she was hiding a briefcase. He remembered the lie she told him about the place she stayed, he had only gotten to know that she was in a hotel after he tracked down the phone number she had given him.
The kidnap. How she untied the ropes. How they eventually escaped. The story Tarasha had said about the passers-by was now sounding ridiculous to him. How she changed the story during the police interrogation was even more ridiculous. Henry was now positive that he was allowed to escape because he had contacted Sylvester and the culprits were well aware that the police were coming.
He buried his face his palms. Dare must have planned all these with her. He was sure of Dare’s ability to connive with an outsider to dupe his Dad.
He looked towards the table where Dare and his Dad were previously seated. Only the Dad and two ladies remained on the seat. Dare and Evelyn must have gone to have a meeting. They must be planning to even end his life now that had been further rubbed in by being the one investigating the Canadian number.
He scrubbed his face with his palms and clenched his fists. He had being fooled, used by a criminal.
He stood up staggering, trying to search for Mr Jubril’s PA who just left the area. His phone made several beeps. He brought it out to check. The camera detector app on his phone was detecting some bugs.
Benny returned to the restroom again, this time making sure that no one was following him. He locked himself in a toilet compartment and sat on the WC, taking out the paper to read.
The substance given to him contained a dangerous mixture of gases which includes Chlorobenzalmalononitrile and other lachrymatory gases that would turn weak everyone that inhaled it within seconds through a peppery sensation in their bodies and eyes. The nose mask was for him to protect himself while the gas was having its effect on the other people.
After killing the Chief, he was to go out through the backdrop which led to the stairs of the security department where Tarasha was and handover the extra cloth to her after which they’ll find a way to leave the venue together.
Five minutes more for the thirty minutes deadline. He got up and walked out to pick the nylon bag which contained the cloth. Two other men walked into the restroom as he walked out to carry out the most crucial part of the assignment.
The door made a creaking sound as she entered into the room. The room was dark except for the reflection from the screens of the desktops. Tarasha could sight no one in, so she went straight to the computer which she assumed to be the master computer and sat behind it. It was passworded, so she brought out a flash from her pocket and inserted it into the USB port.
The software on the flash drive opened up immediately and she began to punch in commands with the use of the keyboard. Soon, she was able to access the files in the computer.
She paused and turned to look around, having a feeling that she wasn’t alone in the room. She didn’t see anyone so she turned back to the computer to hurry up her work. Her target time to use in the cameras security room was five minutes and she had used three minutes already. She had to hurry up and hide before other security officials start find the dead bodies on the corridor.
She felt another movement around and got up while a certain command was loading. She looked around again as she walked towards the window. She rolled up the blinds and the opened the glass. She could hear the soft music playing from the hall. She closed back the window and took off her Bluetooth earphone. She punched in some commands on it and made a speed dial before returning it to her ear.
‘Cole… Nixus Fortrem, 8453. Stop the whole system from working and then redirect to you. Make sure you handle the street cameras too’ she said briefly and ended the call. She had given Cole the code to direct the footages from the cameras captured from that moment to his device.
She then returned to the computer set. All the data recorded in the last two hours had been successfully extracted into her flash drive and deleted from the main computer.
She ejected the drive and closed all applications on the system. She returned it back to the start page and the turned to leave.
Audu came out from behind a shelf and stood by the door with a mean face, clapping his palms together continuously with a pistol in his hands. He took a sharp turn back and jammed the door.
‘Who are you?’ Audu asked softly but with so much sternness as he started walking forward in slow motion.
‘Let me go and your life would be preserved’ Tarasha warned with a smile, after some seconds of silence.
‘You can’t go anywhere, other security officials would be here in the next five minutes. They heard the gunshots and they’re alert already’
Tarasha chuckled. ‘The last time I checked, the walls here are soundproofed’
Audu raised a brow. ‘Oh! Intelligent’ he exclaimed. ‘That’s what gave you the confidence right? Well, for your information, we aren’t the real guys in charge of security here. Dare only got them out of here by a false alarm and they are on their …’
‘I don’t have time for silly talks’ Tarasha slammed and began walking closer to him without fear.
Audu raised up his gun and pointed it at her. She paused.
‘One last chance, don’t try to stop me and your life would be preserved’
The beeps continued on Henry’s phone. He rested his palm on the chair handle shakily and opened the app. All the cameras in the hall had been stopped from working. That was strange. Such things don’t happen until after events. He returned his phone into his pocket and turned to leave.
It beeped again, continuously. He brought it out from his pocket with a loud hiss. The cameras were up again. An error in transmission, he thought.
Suddenly, loud screams and shouts erupted from the back of the hall. A very small ball was rolling from the back to the front and emitting a strange coloured smoke.
The screams became louder. Shouts of ‘Bomb!!!’ filled the air. People began to scamper around but they couldn’t go far as they dropped few seconds after inhaling the smoke. Only a few people who were close to the exit made it out before inhaling enough quantity that could take them out.
Henry struggled to remain standing but his strength failed him. He fell on one knee shaking the table violently in the process. The bag which Tarasha left on the chair fell to Henry’s side on the ground, it was partly opened. Henry dipped his hand into it to pick out the nose mask he saw.
Before he could cover his nose with the mask, the gas had already taken so much effect on him but he was still able to move his head though his vision was blur.
He turned his face to the other side, every other person in the hall was down too. Some had fainted while some were bleeding from the nose but a bulk of them just had their eyes shining brightly without even seeing anything as they laid helpless on the floor.
Someone was marching forward. Henry saw the shoe, he raised up his head, the man was also putting on thick dark gloves and a black bag was strapped to his back. He tried to look at the person’s face but the mask worn made it difficult for him to see the face. But that black suit. Henry had seen it before, on that same day.
The masked man walked straight to where Jubril and his wife was laying down helplessly. Even the bodyguards that were supposed to protect them had fallen to the ground and were just staring helplessly.
Benny got to Jubril in no time and dragged him up by the collar. There was no time to waste, he was sure that the security officials were already coming to the hall with a solution.
He took out a short knife from his pocket and slid it deeply into the man’s throat. Blood gushed out speedily. Benny did this making sure that the fluid did not spill on any other part of his body except his hand which was protected by the glove. He made sure that the windpipe was separated into two before dropping the body.
He rushed through the backdrop exit as instructed by Tarasha in the message and pulled off his suit jacket and beards to remove the disguise. He continued to follow the directions given to him for escape.
He got to the floor landing of the stairs where Tarasha was supposed to wait for him but she wasn’t there yet. His body began to itch. He could hear noises from the hall of policemen who had gone in with their own masks. He hid below the stairs as he took off his Bluetooth earphone and tried to connect to Tarasha. She wasn’t answering. He tried Cole.
‘I don’t have a choice, I was hired to stop and stop you I will’ Audu barked back as Tarasha stood staring at him. ‘I don’t give in to threats by ladies’
‘Then, can we see what you can do without the gun’ Tarasha challenged, motioning him to put down his gun.
He smiled in response and began to unload the gun, taking up the challenge.
‘Don’t try to play fast with me’ he warned as he showed her the empty gun and dropped the pistol on the floor. He adjusted his trouser belt and positioned himself for a fist battle.
Soon, they were close to each other bouncing around in the little space left in the aisle between the computer systems.
Tarasha threw the first punch which Audu dodged effortlessly. He returned it with a blow to her side leaving her shaken a bit. She chuckled, straightened up and continued.
He threw a punch to her face but she dodged. He send a left punch to her belly, she blocked with her right hand. A right one, she blocked again with her left hand. This exposed his chest and belly for attack and she quickly grabbed the opportunity and made a heavy stamp of the soles of her foot on his chest. He staggered backwards and winced in pain, placing a hand on his chest. He didn’t expect such heaviness in her kick, it felt like he had developed an heart attack.
He cracked his knuckles and rotated his neck before moving forward to her again. This time after making some mock gestures with his fists, he directed a kick with his left leg to her neck but she bent her head and took off his other leg from the ground with a kick from her left foot. He landed on the floor thunderously. His leg pulled a wire from a computer set mistakenly and the whole computer desktop was pulled and dropped on his legs.
Tarasha sniffled as she brought out her gun. ‘I’ve got no time for more games, you ain’t got the balls’
‘But you said…’ He was saying when she fired a bullet into his chest.
‘Go meet the boss’ Cole said to Benny, watching Benny’s position on his device through the redirection which Tarasha had done on the system. ‘I think she needs your help right now’
‘Give me directions, is she upstairs?’ Benny asked, staring straight into a camera being sure that Cole was watcing him.
‘Yes, upstairs’ the reply came. ‘Just keep moving, I’ll tell you where to enter’ Cole minimized the clip to the DVD homepage and searched for clip which had Tarasha captured.
‘Cole’ Benny’s voice sounded again. He already got to the entrance security department corridor without any word from Cole.
‘Calm down, I’m trying to find where she is again’ Cole answered. He selected an option and saw Benny walking slowly and glancing at the dead bodies. ‘Hey, go into the third room by the left’
Cole saw Benny pause to listen and then continued walking straight. Tarasha came out of the room before he got to the third door. She was still in her underwear, little drops of sweat fell from her body.
‘Here Boss’ Cole could hear Benny say as he handed over the extra gown to Tarasha. He saw Tarasha’s mouth moving but he couldn’t make out what she said.
‘Oh shit!’ Cole cursed as he minimized to check the way for them. Four security officials were at the end of the stairs, three men and a woman.
‘What’s the matter?’ Benny asked on hearing the curse. Tarasha walked where her ripped gown was, beside Afo and Blade’s dead body and picked it up. She dipped it into the nylon after bringing out the new one which she hung around her neck.
‘You guys have more problems to handle. More officials are climbing up the stairs’
‘Damn!’ Benny cursed too. Cole could see Tarasha turn to ask Benny what the problem was.
Tarasha tapped the device in her ear on, she waited some seconds for it to connect. ‘How many of them are down stairs?’ She asked Cole.
‘Four and it looks like they are calling for more people’ Cole said, Tarasha could hear him taking a deep breath. ‘They are coming upstairs already’ Cole added.
The cold dilution gas condensed on Henry’s forehead as the security officers sprayed. Henry could breath normally now, he took off the mask and picked his phone which had dropped on the floor. He stood and followed the direction which the security officers were giving.
A lot of the victims were just recovering and were being helped by the officers to stand up. Henry was not really given much attention because he was able to stand by himself already. He only received a hand gesture from an officer for him to go out of the hall immediately.
‘He took that direction’ Henry could see a junior police officer pointing at the stage exit where the killer took, explaining something to his senior. He recognised the senior officer as the one who interrogated him and Evelyn two days ago. The officers joined with another group of officers and hurried towards the direction the murderer took.
Henry paused and turned back. His mind was not at peace because he had not seen Evelyn. Even though he was suspecting her to be a fraudster, deep inside, he still cared for her safety.
‘Keep moving please, everyone out of the hall immediately’ a voice shouted at his back. Henry had no other choice than to keep moving, a crowd of staggering fellows who were being supported to walk was surging towards him from the back.
He hurried out of the hall. Several people were rushing out of the main compound and police officers were scattered everywhere looking for the person with the description of the killer they had gotten.
Tarasha and Benny quickly positioned themselves for the coming enemies Tarasha searched Afo and Blade’s body and took out their pistols. She ran to hide behind the wall by the entrance, squatting below the fire we extinguisher while Benny hid behind the curtain hung on one of the doors, holding with him the gun Tarasha gave him.
‘Oo!’ The first official that got to the landing, in front of the corridor exclaimed on seeing the dead bodies.
Two rushed into the corridor without noticing Tarasha behind the wall and she remained quiet and watched while the men scrutinised the dead bodies in awe. The other security man and the lady joined in the same manner except that the new man and woman were more careful. They cocked their guns immediately they saw the bodies and walked into the corridor, glancing around for signs of the killer
The group of five policemen led by inspector Ken paused as they got behind the backdrop. One of the officers bent down to pick the black suit jacket on the floor, he dusted it to see if anything would drop from it. Nothing did.
‘The killer dropped his suit?’ Ken stared in disbelief. The officers all surrounded and checked the suit together.
‘Then he must have joined the crowd already’ an officer added.
Ken paused and stared briefly at the ground. He squatted and used his pistol to pull a piece of hair closer to himself.
‘Did they say the killer had beards?’ Ken raised up his head to ask.
‘Yes’ an officer replied him briefly.
‘That was just a disguise, here’s the fake beard’ Ken stood up. Another officer putting on an hand glove bent to pick the hair.
A man putting on a the events centre security uniform opened the backdrop and joined them. ‘Have you seen anything officers?’
They showed him the jacket and the beard. ‘The killer escape through this place’
‘He couldn’t have passed through here without meeting our men on the way’
‘But you wouldn’t have known, he changed his disguise’ Ken said.
‘Guests are not allowed to pass through here, our security men would have stopped him’ the man said and began to lead the way. The officers followed carefully searching around the dark walls to see if anything or anyone was hidden.
The security woman was the first to see Tarasha, but a bullet was fixed into her skull before she could do anything.
The man with the cocked gun turned immediately to shoot but Tarasha was faster, a bullet into his belly brought him down. The other two officials were taken with one bullet each from Benny from their back.
‘If guests are not allowed to pass through this place and your men have not caught anyone yet. Does that mean it was done by an insider? One of your men?’ Ken accused.
‘NO’ the man turned back suddenly to refute strongly. It could be one of the external cooks and attendants that were… ‘ he was cut short by the sound of a gunshot. It sounded like somewhere far away.
The policemen were alert at once. One of them ran to peep through the backdoor and check if it was from the hall but it wasn’t.
More gunshots sounds followed. ‘Where could that be coming from?’ Ken asked widening his eyes.
‘It could only be from two places. Outside the hall or in the security department block’
‘Is the way clear now?’ Tarasha pressed the Bluetooth device against her ear as she spoke to Benny.
‘No, six more officers are on the way’ Cole replied her in a shaky voice.
Tarasha’s brain began to work fast, she started considering their chances of leaving that place without being caught and the options they had. Engaging the six new policemen in fight would be a waste of time because that would only create more time for more security officials to come.
She then remembered Audu, she didn’t see him return to the security department by the stairs, he just disappeared mysteriously at her back in the computer room. That means that he had returned through another route, perhaps a secret escape.
She walked to the female security official’s body laying lifeless on the floor and examined it. In few seconds, she began to pull off the uniform on the body. Benny stared for some seconds before he understood what was happening. He joined her and selected a dead security man whose body was almost same size and height as his.
‘They’re on their way up’ Cole’s voice sounded in both Tarasha and Benny’s ears. Tarasha took a quick glance at Benny and gave him a signal. She had already taken off the lady’s top and was halfway with the trousers.
Tarasha got up hanging the uniform’s top on neck. She dragged the lifeless body with her and entered into the camera’s security room again where she fought with Audu. Benny followed her immediately and they locked the door behind them.
In few seconds, Tarasha was already changing into the security uniform. She still had the new gown around her neck and the old one in a nylon with her.
‘Hurry’ Cole voice came through again. Tarasha could hear sounds coming from outside the room, the security officials were already there. She quickly began to put on the trousers while Benny was still struggling with the shirt. The sleeve of the top was longer than Tarasha’s hand but she rolled it neatly after putting on the trousers which was slightly oversized.
A violent knock sounded on the door. Benny was putting on his trousers already. Tarasha began to look around the room, she remembered that Audu had come out from behind a shelf. She walked towards the shelf to examine it.
The officers outside began to attempt opening the door with force.
**Outside the door**
Ken stood alert with his gun raised above his shoulders as a junior officer tried to open the door with kicks.
‘That’s a waste of time, the door is well secured’ the security man said to the police officers. He got up from his knees where he was scrutinising the dead bodies of his colleagues and proceeded towards the door. He touched the knob and tried to open it but it was stiff. He shifted back and aimed at the knob with his gun. Three shots and the door gave way
Henry began to search for the car in the park. He couldn’t remember the exact spot it was parked, so he attempted asking the security officials but they were too busy looking out for the criminal and trying to control the crowd’s rush to answer him.
The only option left for him was to leave the venue without a car like so many people were doing but he couldn’t stop worrying about Evelyn. He couldn’t leave without her, at least he had to see her driver first to know if the driver had any information about her whereabouts. He removed his phone and dialed Evelyn’s phone number again. It was busy. That was the reply he had been getting for several times he had tried.
‘Get away, you fool!’ Someone who was rushing out cursed loudly as his phone dropped on collision with Henry, he didn’t bother to stop and pick it up. That’s when he suddenly remembered something, he had a smaller phone which he dropped in the car, he could track the number to know where the car was.
‘Please, you have to exit the venue right now’ an official accosted him.
‘I’m sorry, I can’t leave, my girlfriend is still here’ Henry replied, feeling surprised with himself that he had called Evelyn bus girlfriend.
‘Just go out, she may be outside waiting for you’ the man said and began to push him forward, threatening him with a rod in his hand.
**Port Harcourt, Rivers State **
Dakolo drove his CRV Jeep into his compound after several days of absence. He was too fatigued to even respond to the gate man’s welcome greeting. He turned off the engine and released his seat belt. He took another deep breath before opening the door. His kids and wife were already rushing out of the house to welcome him. He quickly to turned to the back seat and picked up a nylon bag. He didn’t forget to buy biscuits for his kids this time and a gift for his wife despite his tiredness.
‘Hey Young man’ his little boy ran into his legs as he stepped out of the car. He picked the boy up gave him a peck before taking out is brief case from car. His second and third boys hugged him one after the other and took the brief case and nylon bag from their father. Dakolo dropped the little boy and left him to run back into the house with his elder brothers. He was left outside alone with his wife.
The smile on her face made him smile too, he had missed her so much. Just too weeks in Lagos and it looked like they had been away from each other for years. They engaged each other in a deep embrace and afterwards a long kiss before saying anything to themselves.
‘I’ve missed you so much’ she said after they broke away from the kiss.
‘I missed you too’ he replied and held her hand, they began to walk into the house slowly. She rested her arm on his shoulder. He knew what she was asking for and immediately lifted her up into his arms and carried her all the way to the living room.
He dropped her on his laps as he sat on the three seater sofa beside his briefcase. The maid, Lydia greeted before taking the kids into their room. The couple engaged each other in another long kiss before speaking again.
‘So, how was your trip’ Angela finally asked, looking into her husband’s eyes.
‘Great’ Dakolo replied, avoiding her eyes.
‘How did it go?’ Angela got up from his laps and sat beside him. The maid returned with a glass of water for Dakolo.
‘Still on the matter… No lead suspect or new discoveries yet. Samantha Osman seems to have no one related to her in this country. No blood relation, no friends, no acquittances’ he replied before taking the glass of water from the stool. He gulped it down immediately.
‘That serious o’ Angela hissed. ‘So you guys did not make any progress?’ She asked another question, starting intently into her husband’s eyes.
He still avoided her gaze for some reasons, he had some news to give her which she might not like. ‘Not really, the criminal is a damn professional’ he replied, biting his lips after.
‘Shhh…’ Angela hushed him, glancing around the sitting room. ‘You shouldn’t use such words around, the kids might pick them up’
Dakolo gave a short hiss. ‘Yeah, sorry about that, it’s just frustrating’ he said and bent down to start taking off his shoes.
‘Well, we’ll talk more later’ the wife said, getting up from the seat. ‘Let me make sure your food is served first and prepare your water for bath’ she began to walk away.
‘Angela’ Dakolo called softly.
She turned back and stared at him without saying any word in reply. He had just taken off the shoe from his left leg and he stopped.
‘Come sit down’ he said, motioning her to return to the space beside him.
‘Yes’ she said as she sat beside him. He turned to face her and held her two hands, both staring into each other’s eyes.
‘I…’ Dakolo tried to begin but was short of words. He turned back to his briefcase and opened it. He took out a folded A4 paper from it and gave to her. It was a letter, a letter of transfer to Abuja.
She kept glancing at his face occasionally as she read it. The transfer wasn’t really the problem, the problem was that they won’t be able to stay with each other for the next five months. How? They would have moved together but for the kids who were still in the second term of the school session. The education system in the country no longer allowed for admission if new pupils into schools after the first term, it only allowed for admission at the beginning of a new session. That means Angela had to wait with the kids for five months until the session ends. They had never stayed that long apart from each other.
Chief Gab sat quietly in his living room, his back well rested on the couch’s back pillow and his legs on a short stool as he busied himself reading articles about politics from Nairaland site on his tablet device.
It had been about two weeks since Tarasha and her crew had left for Abuja to execute his work and he had only heard from her once. She only called him to request for money to buy some necessary things, she didn’t even update him on the progress of the job. But he was sure she would do the execution perfectly so he didn’t bother much about it.
‘Happy birthday to Chief Jubril Lawal’ he mumbled to himself as returned to the front-page of the Nairaland.com site, the thread topic was at the seventh position. He hissed and was about to close the browser tab but out of boredom, he scrolled up to see if he had read all political topics on the main page.
‘Pictures from Jubril Lawal’s ongoing birthday party’ he read the topic on the second position and hissed. Why was his enemy’s news making the headlines today? He hissed. He promised himself again not to read any news that talks about Jubril or any of his enemies.
He scrolled further and saw the time on displayed on the site, he realized that It was over an hour ago since he loaded the front-page. He clicked on the refresh button to check for newer updates on the site.
It reloaded, the first thing his eyes met surprised him. He wiped his face with his hands and checked again. ‘Jubril Lawal Dead – Unconfirmed’ was the new headline on the front-page. Gab quickly clicked on the link to read the news.
There was nothing long to read but there was a screenshot to back up the claim. “The minister of information just tweeted this now, we hope he’s not talking about Chief Jubril” the details read and the screenshot displayed under it. It was a tweet from the minister of information who was also a guest at the birthday party. It read, “Something drastic needs to be done about these recent assassinations in our country, how can a former minister of defence be murdered confidently with all the security officials present?”
The source beneath the post was a link to Linda Ikeji’s blog.
His phone began to ring as he started scrolling down to read comments. He stood to pick it from the centre table where it was and returned to his seat before answering the call.
‘Chief Gab’ Chief Nonso’s voice rang in happily like someone who had just been awarded a trillion dollar contract.
‘Yes, Chief Nonso. Good evening, I hope you didn’t forget anything in my house?’ Chief Gab replied.
‘Noo, not that’ Chief Nonso continued, ‘haven’t you heard the breaking news?’
‘What breaking news?’ Gab feigned ignorance.
‘Jubril Lawal was killed today during his birthday party by an unknown assassin’
‘Oh! Unknown assassin? During his party? Has he been confirmed dead?’ Gab expressed his doubts.
‘Yes, the news was sent via text message through my subscription to Linda Ikeji’s blog and I just confirmed from someone who stays around the event centre where there party took place’ Chief Nonso answered.
‘Well, if it’s true, then it’s good news for us. We need to celebrate’ Chief Gab excitedly.
‘Yes, good news. I’m sure it would be all over the news by tomorrow. Let’s just wait and see’
‘Yes, sure. Thank you Chief Nonso’ Chief Gab said and ended the call. He glanced at the phone’s screen, he had four unread notifications. He swiped down to check. There was a message from Tarasha sent three hours ago. ‘Job would be completed tonight, prepare the extra allowance for my employees’ he smiled as he read to himself.
He closed the messages and opened the dialpad to quickly dial her number but it was connecting, same way it had been since she left for the operation, he had never been able to reach her, she only reached him when she wanted. All the same, he felt joy in his heart and he returned quietly to his former resting position. The officers moved in one after the other carefully, welcomed into the cameras control room by three different dead bodies. Two half unclad ones and a fully clothed one. One of them bent to examine the bodies while the others spread around the room with their guns raised high in readiness for any attack.
Ken carefully examined the lady’s body, there was a bullet hole in her forehead. She must have been shot by a professional because the hole was drilled right in the middle of the forehead and she had no other wound in any part of her body. It wasn’t a close distance shot, he noticed as he observed the head with his gloved hands. He stared at the rest of the body, it was only clad in underwear, someone must have taken off the clothes. The male dead body beside her too was only clad in briefs, only the third, which was a man’s body was fully clothed.
‘These are our staffs, they work in this department’ the security man pointing to the two half unclad bodies knelt beside Ken to explain. ‘The other man is an external official’
‘But I think I heard some noises here before we came in’ Ken said, getting up to look around.
‘I heard it too, it sounded like there were some movements’ the security man joined, getting up too.
The other four men paused to listen, all standing alert with their guns. Ken continued to pace around checking behind and under each computer system.
‘There is a secret exit in this room, only the senior security staffs and those who work here knows the place’ The security man said as he picked a book from the shelf. He opened it and flipped. ‘It should be here in the navigation map’
Ken joined him as they checked through the book together and discovered the secret route behind the shelf.
Tarasha used her phone’s flashlight to brighten up the way as they rushed down the stairs of the dark escape route. The door was fastened behind by a simple metal lock which easily gave way.
A policeman almost bumped into Tarasha as she walked out of the escape. ‘Sorry, did you guys see anything yet?’ The unsuspecting officer asked.
‘No’ Tarasha answered briefly.
‘You saw anything?’ The policeman stopped and directed the question to Benny again, breathing heavily and wiping sweat off his face.
Tarasha moved forward, and pressed the Bluetooth device against her ear to reduce the noise entering as she called Cole’s name softly. There was no response, Cole must have disconnected. Tarasha gave up trying after several attempts.
From the look of things, they had come out to left side of the events centre, just few centimetres to the backyard. She moved backwards to check, she could see the cleaners and chefs hurriedly packing up things. She saw a staff toilet there too. She took a quick look into the nylon bag in her hand, her cloth was still there; she heaved a sigh of relief.
‘Hey’ Tarasha gestured at Benny, ‘let’s check the toilet’. Benny quickly used the opportunity to escape from the policeman and followed Tarasha.
‘Hey’ a familiar voice called to them from the back. It was Cole, dressed in a police uniform. Tarasha and Benny turned back and headed straight towards him. The officer who had accosted them at the escape entrance looked at Cole in suspicion.
‘We gotta leave quickly, you guys should enter through the back’ Cole quickly whispered to them, pointing at a Ambulance parked far away at the front. A nurse was opening the back door to the part meant for patients.
It was five minutes to ten when Henry got to his personal apartment. He had chosen it instead of the cameras security commission quarters because of it’s closeness to the event centre from where he escaped from.
The effect of the tear gas that has been dispelled by the police outside the event centre did not allow him wait outside the compound. He hurriedly left the environment and joined a cab which was going in direction of his home.
Henry didn’t like the smell that welcomed him into his living room, not that it was bad, but it made it obvious that no one had been in the house for days. He switched on the bulb and searched for his air freshener, he quickly sprayed it before turning on the air conditioner. He finally sat down and took out his phone. His first move was to track his smaller phone to know the location of the Range rover in which he and Evelyn was driven to the event. But on a second thought, he opened the dial pad first and dialed Evelyn’s phone number again. This time, it rang.
‘Evelyn’ Henry called anxiously as the call was answered.
‘Henry’ she called back, softly.
‘Where are you? Are you safe?’ Henry asked, happy that he finally heard her voice.
‘I’m fine, what about you?’
‘Fine too, I was worried about you’
‘I’m safe, thanks’
Henry heaved a sigh of relief before he continued. ‘Where are you now?’
‘I don’t really know this place but I’m in good hands’
‘Just wait there, I’ll come pick you up’
‘No need, don’t bother’ She rejected with a strong tone.
‘Evelyn’ Henry called softly, in surprise of her refusal. ‘I’m coming to get you’ he insisted with a stronger tone. The line went off.
Tarasha ended the call and switched off the phone immediately. She was seated on a chair opposite Benny who was seated on the patients bed.
Tarasha took off the back cover of the phone and then took out the sim card. She destroyed the sim card by scratching the surface, then she broke it into two and dropped it on the floor.
Cole who was now putting on a lab coat over his police uniform was smiling and stealing glances at his boss through the front mirror as he drove with Aisha seated by his side, dressed in a nurse’s uniform. The operation had been the most exciting for Cole and he was feeling so fulfilled.
Working according to his plan with the boss two days before the main day, he had driven out the Range rover after the security man had accosted him in the park and returned the car to where it was rented from. After that, he went to hire the ambulance and lab coat from the gang he had contacted the day before. Their choice of an ambulance was for the reason that they could easily escape with it and also disobey traffic signals.
They’ve had a successful operation, everyone had played their parts excellently and the team had come out victoriously. But something was wrong with the look on the Boss’s face, Cole observed.
‘Boss’ Cole called, knocking the transparent glass in the middle of the partition.
Tarasha did not speak but stared at him in response. The look on her face had the message for him to say what he wanted to.
‘Did we miss out anything?’ Cole asked, taking another quick glance at her.
‘No’ Tarasha replied briefly. ‘We did well’ she added when Cole continued to look at her for more explanation. She continued with fixing back her phone.
‘Okay, you don’t look like you think we did well’ Cole continued.
‘True’ Benny joined in the conversation. ‘I wanted to say…’
Tarasha looked up with a frown. A frown which warned Benny not to speak further, he refrained quickly.
‘You wanted to say?’ Cole who didn’t see the frown continued.
‘Would you shut the hell up and face the road’ Tarasha slammed at him.
A deep sudden silence enveloped the vehicle as a strange kind of tension gripped their hearts.
Even Tarasha herself could not understand. What kept coming to her mind was Henry. The kisses which were supposed to be a part of her job and long forgotten immediately after the operation began to play back into her mind the moment they left the premises of the operation. Her several attempts to wave off the thoughts proved futile and the pictures kept coming back to her head, stronger and clearer.
In her mind, she could see him again, standing speechless in front of his room as she turned to face him. His face shine brightly like the sun, emanating a kind of glow that brought a strange smile to her lips and happiness to her heart.
He fed his eyes on her body and then paused to stare into her yes, the flame in his eyes was strange to her, revealing a kind of passion she had not seen for a long period of time. What it was, she couldn’t still explain. Then, he moved closer to her and mumbled some words. He placed his hand around her waist and continued to stare into her eyes. She placed her hands on his shoulder, returning his stare. Their lips met. She broke away shortly, the mission was not yet accomplished then, she couldn’t let the strange passion consume her.
The mind drifted to their journey to the events centre, in the Range rover. The silence. How Henry was trying to avoid speaking with her. How his body shook when she rested a hand on his knee. He tried to explain but she covered his mouth with hers. Her hormones rushed through her body as she felt the soft touch of his lips again.
‘Boss, Boss…’ Cole broke into her thoughts, knocking and looking through the partition window. ‘What’s next?’
‘Huh?’ Tarasha’s body vibrated, feeling embarrassed as all eyes were on her. The bus had been stopped right in the compound of their initial lodge when they landed in Abuja and they were asking her a question which she didn’t hear because she was lost in thoughts.
‘Boss, you said we’re not going to stay here tonight, that we’ll only get here to pick something’ Cole said.
Tarasha who was still lost eyed both Benny and Cole who were staring at her wickedly and hissed. She didn’t know what to say or do as she couldn’t remember again her earlier plan.
‘Who said we’re not staying here tonight? ‘She said with an intimidating voice as she opened the backdoor and dropped off the bus.
Benny was staring at her strangely as he stepped out too. He didn’t understand what was going on.
‘We are staying here for tonight’ Tarasha said and walked straight towards the house. Now she was wishing that moment she had with Benny never ended. She wished she could go back to play the Evelyn role again but the mission was over, she had to return to her default assassin settings.
Aisha who had been silent all through the journey stepped out from the front seat and followed immediately after the boss to open the door because she had the keys with her.
Cole stepped out after switching off the inner lights of the vehicle. He was smiling as he joined Benny at the back of the ambulance. Benny gave him a cold stare. ‘What? Why are you laughing? Do you know what’s wrong with the boss?’
‘Yes, I think I do’ Cole whispered back. ‘She feeling sad because she’s going to miss someone here in Abuja’
‘Going to miss someone in Abuja? Who?’
‘Someone I saw her kissing passionately today’ Cole replied, taking off his doctor’s coat.
‘Oh!’ Benny’s eyes since brightly in the dark, his interest arising more. ‘Who was that?’
‘Never mind’ Cole managed to say while he flung away the coat. He dipped his hands into his pockets to pick out what was there. ‘We will all know when the time comes’ he said as he walked away, leaving Benny to stand alone in the dark.
Cole hissed as he brought out an handkerchief and a small Nokia phone from his pocket while walking away. The Nokia phone was the one he picked from the backseat of the Range rover before returning it to the owners.
THE END OF CHAPTER ELEVEN
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