Chapter 17 part 5
LOCATION: OPIC ESTATE, AGBARA.
Dr Francis heard himself being called from the living room in the most unusual way by his son. He got out from the kitchen and walked into the living room.
‘What’s the matter son?’ Dr Francis asked with a raised high brow.
‘Sorry, I’ve checked you in your room and I didn’t find you there.’
‘Yes, Esther went to the market to get some foodstuffs, so I had to fix something for myself since no one else is at home.’ Dr Francis replied.
‘When is Mum returning from Port Harcourt?’
‘She should return this week,’ Dr Francis replied. ‘So, what are you doing at home this afternoon and why were you calling me that way?’
‘I think we should get seated first,’ the son said and followed his dad to the seating area of the living room. They both settled on two different one seater sofas close to each other.
The doctor’s son took out his android phone, unlocked it and opened his browser. He opened one of the saved web pages and then handed the phone to his Dad. ‘Please go through that Dad.’
Dr Francis collected the phone but stared at his son’s face for some seconds, wondering why the boy could not just tell him why he was being called.
He finally looked at what he was given to read. The title of the news article was ‘Dr Ekwueme: Now Missing for more than Five weeks.’
Dr Francis was shocked at first. He took a quick glance at his son’s face who nodded at him, signaling for him to continue reading. Dr Francis shook his head before looking into the phone again, he considered in his mind that the Doctor being talked about could be another Dr Ekwueme but as he read on and saw the pictures attached to the article, he realized it was the same Dr Ekwueme who visited them few days ago.
‘But how is this possible?’ He asked with a frowned face. ‘Dr Ekwueme was here with a daughter of his some days ago.’
‘But reports says he’s been missing for weeks,’ the son countered. ‘He was led out of his house by a strange girl and he hasn’t been seen at home since then.’
The news article they read had explained how Dr Ekwueme’s estrange wife and kids have been looking for him around town. They claimed to have received phone calls from the doctor during the first three weeks and even had video chats with him more than once. Anytime he reached them he was always in a hurry like he was being timed by someone, but he always assured them that he was fine and asked them not to be worried about him. But for the last few weeks, no calls or messages have been gotten from the doctor and none had been able to reach him.
‘I think there’s a mix up somewhere,’ Dr Francis said thoughtfully. He quickly searched his pocket from his phone but couldn’t find it, he got up and hurried into his room and returned with his phone a minute later. ‘The number he gave me is not going through,’ he said as he sat back in the sofa, still dialing.
‘I don’t trust that girl he came with, she could just be the one who was seen taking him out of his house.’ The son said.
‘But Dr Ekwueme didn’t look like he was kidnapped that day or maltreated, he looked strong and healthy.’ Dr Francis said.
‘I don’t understand that too, but what I think is that she’s blackmailing him with a secret of his she knows. Dr Ekwueme could have done something bad in the past,’ the son suggested.
‘I don’t think that’s it, Dr Ekwueme is a good man.’
‘You never can tell Dad, he just might have done something very terrible in the past.’
‘I think I have to report to the police right away,’ Dr Francis said.
‘Yes, you do.’ His son supported.
‘Popular Doctor, Dr Ekwueme has been missing for more than Five weeks.’
Dave saw the headline as he scrolled down the nairaland forum homepage. He paused and his finger hovered above the link for a while. The name rang a bell in his memory. He closed his eyes deeply to remember which Dr Ekwueme he knew. After some minutes of rigorous searching of his memory, he finally had a faint remembrance of the doctor he knew. He wasn’t too sure he recognized the man’s face anymore but he remembered the name very well. Dr Ekwueme was a man who had helped him in the past, several years ago. Even though he was a kid then, he could still remember how the man helped him. He finally clicked on the link and was redirected to the post page. He read the article and got details of how the man left home with a young woman. Then he got to the pictures and stopped to view carefully. The man looked like someone he had seen before, not the doctor that helped him long ago, but someone he had seen recently. He moved to the second picture of the man and he was more convinced that he had seen him before. He turned his head and stared at the wall blankly for some seconds, trying to recall where he had seen the man but he couldn’t. He scrolled back up to read the news article again and check the details which he could have overlooked when he read it for the first time. Then he noted the names of the man’s hospitals and his children’s names. He still couldn’t recall yet, so he went through the article the third time and just on the first line, he saw the exact word he needed to remember, ‘Anambra’.
He could now recall clearly that the man was the one he saw in the Chevrolet been driven by the lady on low cut who he admired. The doctor was one of the reasons he couldn’t stop to go and talk to the lady. The face of the young lady was still very clear in his memory.
He quickly scanned through the article again to check the day the doctor was seen leaving his house with a young lady. He noted the date and quickly opened his calendar to check which day he saw the low cut lady in the Chevrolet at the hotel in Anambra, it was the same day. He rushed back to check the time the man was taken and tried to remember the time he drove into the hotel that day.
He stared blankly at the wall for a moment with his mouth left agape. With all his deductions, it was obvious that the girl he admired that day was the same young lady who took the doctor from his home. He heaved a sigh and shook his head. He returned back to his browser and was about to click the back arrow to the nairaland front page but for some reasons, he felt he needed to know more about the doctor’s abduction.
‘I’ve got no business to do with this,’ he argued in his mind as his finger hovered above the screen. A thought suddenly popped up in his mind, he widened his eyes. He minimized his browser and opened his contact store. He scrolled to the contact saved as ‘mother’ and dialed the number. He placed the phone close to his ears to listen.
‘Hello David,’ the mother’s voice sounded calmly.
‘Mother,’ Dave replied with a bright smile. ‘How are you doing mother?’
‘I’m not fine David,’ the mother said in a troublesome tone. ‘All you do is send money home, you don’t call frequently or even try to visit home. Your younger ones are always asking about you, it’s your father that comforts them.’
‘Mother, I’m sorry, I would come home when I can, my job doesn’t give me time. But there shouldn’t be any problem, we chat often online.’
‘Is chatting online enough, you don’t even have time to do video calls with us.’
Dave felt guilty. ‘I’m sorry mother, I will change and I will come home very soon.’
‘That’s what you say all the time.’
‘I promise this time Mother, if I don’t come before the end of the year, I will spend the Christmas holiday with you people.’
‘Ah! Christmas! That’s too far.’
‘It’s not far mother, it’ll come very soon.’
The mother sighed.
‘Mother, I have a question for you.’ he said, changing his tone to a serious one.
‘Ehen David, hope there’s no problem.’
‘There’s no problem ma, I want to ask if you still remember Dr Ekwueme.’
‘Dr… Ekwueme…’ the woman stammered for a while. ‘Dr Ekwueme, yes, I remember him. What’s the problem?’
‘Mother, I told you there is no problem. Do you know where he is now and what he does?’
The mother was silent for a while. ‘I think he left Lagos for his hometown, I heard he has built big hospitals and he’s helping people in his state now.’
‘Mother, do you know which state he retired to?’
‘I’m not sure, but I’m sure it’s one of these eastern states.’
Dave sighed. ‘Okay, what if I send you his picture on whatsapp, can you recognize him?’
‘Yes, I can.’
‘Okay, I’ll send it to you right now. Please come online,’ Dave said before ending the call.
He returned to his phone browser and downloaded the images of the man, and then he forwarded them from his pictures gallery to his mother’s number on WhatsApp.
A reply came after two minutes, it read: ‘Yes, he’s the one.’
Dave’s heart skipped a beat. He couldn’t believe his eyes. He read the reply again and again to himself. He had seen the doctor who rescued his life when he was younger without taking any hospital fee from anyone. It was painful that he didn’t recognize the doctor when he saw him, maybe if he had, he would have tried to stop the car and get to rescue the man from the girl.
He couldn’t tell what got him so carried away by the girl that he didn’t pay much attention to the man. She was beautiful but he didn’t think it was her beauty that got his attention that much.
Another thought struck his mind and it totally change his direction of thoughts. Something was wrong but he couldn’t connect it. He had a feeling that the Chevrolet he pursued Samantha Osman with was the same one he saw Doctor Ekwueme in, then why did someone else come to claim ownership? He tried to recall the face of the woman who had come to claim the Chevrolet, he could remember the shape of her eyes clearly. He tried to compare it with the face of the low cut lady he saw in the Chevrolet with the doctor but couldn’t. He didn’t see the face of the low cut lady so close, so it was impossible to say for certain that she was the one who came to claim the car. He remembered that the complexions of the women were slightly different but he knew that that could be the work of makeups, he was also a pro in using makeups for disguising.
Something seemed fishy. Was it a coincidence that Samantha Osman was in the state the same day the Doctor was abducted from the house? He asked himself. Or did she have something to do with the doctor’s disappearance? Was it also a coincidence that the doctor’s abductor was a young lady too?
He needed to find out, he thought to himself. And even if it happened that the doctor’s kidnap had nothing to do with Samantha Osman, he would just take it as a repayment to the doctor for saving his life years ago. He got up from his bed and headed for the table where his laptop was, he was going to book a flight to Anambra for the next morning, and at least take some days break from his worries and pursuit of Samantha Osman.
‘Hey boy! Look here,’ Cole said dragging Stainless by the ear.
Stainless stared up at him with his head still slightly bowed. He was very weak and unable to move his body. Even with his weakness and terrible hunger which they knew of, he was still tied firmly to the chair.
‘Look at me!’ Cole shouted again.
He tried to raise his head but it dropped again. He sighed heavily and closed his eyes. Cole placed a finger under his jaw and raised his face.
‘I can see you’ve lost all your strength, sorry about that. Even though we were never friends, I still don’t feel too good seeing you like this but it’s a pity that I can’t help you until you give us all the information we need.’
‘I can’t give you any information,’ Stainless replied with a weak voice. ‘You…are…just wasting…your time.’
Cole chuckled and let his head dropped. He took a step back and suddenly sent an uppercut to Stainless’ face.
Stainless head swung backward and the chair he was seated staggered. Cole pulled his head back after some seconds, his lips were swelling already.
‘Now, are you going to tell me or not?’ Cole threatened, raising his hand tightening his fist for Stainless to see.
‘What do you want me to tell you?’ Stainless voiced out weakly. His head felt heavy and his vision was blurry.
‘Good,’ Cole let out a faint smile. It was the first time of hearing a positive response from Stainless since he had been held captive, it meant that the drug used on him was already working. ‘Tell me where Rex kept Chief Nonso Onwuli.’
Stainless stared at him for a second, he closed his eyes and then opened again to give a response that surprised and angered Cole. ‘I saw you people bring in Rex and Tobi last night, why can’t you ask him directly since you also have him captured too?’
Cole was infuriated and he felt like dishing out a heavier blow but he restrained himself. He smiled and looked into Stainless eyes, ‘Like I said before Stain, even though we’re not best of friends, I don’t feel too good seeing you this way. If it happens that you don’t cooperate with us, we might be asked to kill you by Samantha but if you cooperate, your life may be spared. That’s why I’m giving you this opportunity for you to save yourself.’
Stainless looked into Cole’s eyes keenly, his jaw now resting on Cole’s finger again. He could see no sincerity in Cole’s eyes and knew all Cole was saying were just to get him to speak. He forced in a breath before speaking up again, ‘Go to hell Cole, I’m not telling you any…’
He was yet to land when another blow hit on his face. This time, he felt as if his nose had shifted from the normal position. His head became too heavy for his neck and his nose began to run with blood. He began to see visions of himself in the sky putting on a white robe and floating in the air. He got to a place and met a man putting on a shining white garment, the man looked was an Angel. The man stared at his face for a while and then tore off the white robe on his body, leaving a black robe that was under. Then the Angel pointed him to another direction where he saw Don Daniel also putting on black and gesturing for him to come. He was about to start moving when he heard Cole’s voice again.
Cole was pulling his head again but this time by the hair, Cole couldn’t put his finger to support the jaw again because of the bleeding from Stainless’ nose.
Stainless managed to open his eyes and stared at Cole’s cold face. He could now clearly remember the words of his father who was a Christian, reminding him that he would go to hell if he continued with his bad ways. His hallucination had brought him close to hell and it felt to him as if it was real for the first time, Don was in hell and was calling him to join. He decided that he must stay alive even if it was to repent before dying.
‘Chief Nonso Onwuli was first taken to Igbede, he was moved when Rex found out that Samantha was coming. I don’t know where exactly Rex has moved him to now, but there are only three facilities I know Rex procured in Lagos. The one in Igbede, one at Ikeja and one at Ipaja.’ Stainless finally gave in.
Cole smiled now. He took out his phone and opened the notepad, ‘Can you tell me the specific addresses of each location?’
Stainless described the location of the three places and Cole wrote them on his phone.
‘Clean him up, give him some food to eat and let him rest after that ,’ Cole said to the other man standing behind him in the room. He proceeded out and went straight to meet Tarasha who was in the computer room.
‘Cole, Elvis Richards is back to the hospital. We need to check which one he was taken to?’ Tarasha spoke first before Cole could.
‘Did it just happen?’ Cole asked.
‘Yes, it’s on the news. He was rushed out of the presidential quarters after being found unconscious in his room.’
‘I hope that man doesn’t die before we get to him,’ Cole said.
‘I hope so too, I want him to admit all his sins to the world before he dies.’ Tarasha replied. She paused for a minute to concentrate on the blog which she was updating. Cole found a seat and sat beside her.
‘Boss, Stainless has spoken. He gave the addresses of three different places where Rex could have taken Chief Nonso to.’
‘Do you know the three places?’
‘Yes, I do.’ Cole answered.
‘Then, we have to check them all this afternoon. After Chief Nonso is safe, we would go for the Vice President immediately,’ Tarasha said.
Her phone was already ringing before she finished talking. She looked at the screen, Henry was the caller.
‘What’s up man?’ she said into the phone.
‘Tara, the Inspector General’s secret flight to Netherlands is tomorrow by twelve noon,’ Henry said to her.
‘Oh!’ Tarasha let out a breath. ‘Thanks, I’ll get back to you soon.’
She turned to look at Cole who was also staring at her. ‘Our plan has changed.’
Cole already expected that, after seeing the way she responded to Henry.
‘You would have to go with one or two other men to look for Chief Nonso, I will take a flight to Abuja tomorrow with Henry.’ She explained.
‘What’s happening in Abuja?’ Cole asked.
‘The Inspector General secret flight to Netherlands is tomorrow,’ she replied. Her phone began to ring again and she picked it up, Dr Ekwueme was the new caller.
‘Samantha, where are you?’ Dr Ekwueme voice sounded with a note of emergency.
‘What’s wrong doc?’ Tarasha asked.
‘I need to see you right away, it’s urgent.’
‘Can’t you say what it is over the phone?’
‘I need you to see things for yourself.’
Tarasha sighed, she knew it must be something about Mrs. Atinuke. ‘I’ll be there in thirty minutes time,’ she said and ended the call. She got up from the seat and turned to Cole, ‘You can shut down the systems, I have to go meet the doctor now.’
43 Minutes later.
Tarasha was walking hurriedly to the medical room while the doctor was following behind as fast as his strength and weak bones could carry him. She opened the door and stormed into the place, she proceeded straight to the place the woman was laying. The doctor walked in after her and pushed the door slightly, leaving it partially opened.
Tarasha stared at the screen of the machine behind the headboard of the bed where Mrs. Atinuke laid. She could confirm what the doctor said from the reading on the screen. The woman needed help urgently.
‘She needs to be under the machine in less than twenty four hours,’ Dr Ekwueme said to Tarasha who was staring at the woman silently.
Tarasha heaved a sigh. She turned a bit from the woman and stared at the wall. She wondered if fighting for Mrs. Atinuke’s life was worth it, after all it was easier for her to kill the Vice President now that Rex was in captivity.
‘What would happen if we don’t get her under the machine in twenty four hours?’ Tarasha turned to the doctor and asked.
‘I don’t think she can survive it,’ the doctor replied in a sad tone.
Tarasha was yet undecided when she began to hear some faint sounds. She turned her ear in direction of the sound and looked towards the door, she saw that it was partially open.
‘Stephanie,’ she called out loud. She had heard the ‘silent’ sobs of the girl eavesdropping and hiding behind the wall.
The doctor looked towards the door and glanced back at Tarasha with his eyebrows gathered together. He wondered why she was calling Stephanie from there, was she expecting the girl to hear the name from her room.
He was awestruck when the girl appeared at the door with her face full of tears.
‘Come in,’ Tarasha said and then turned back to the sick woman.
The doctor stared at Tarasha in awe, wondering how she knew that Stephanie was outside. Maybe she had some diabolical powers, he thought to himself.
Stephanie walked in slowly and Tarasha waited for her to get to them before she continued speaking.
‘Can we take her to Anambra by land?’ Tarasha asked the doctor.
‘Ermm…yes, most of our roads are good now, flight is only better because of time but I knowit isn’t an option because of what is involved.’ Dr Ekwueme replied. He stopped to check his time, ‘But it means we would get there at midnight.’
‘Yes, that should even make it easier for us to use your hospital.’ Tarasha said. She wasn’t ready to travel to Anambra yet but she had no choice than to. Seeing Stephanie cry had made her make the decision quick.
‘How many of us are travelling?’ the doctor asked.
‘Just the two of us and the driver,’ Tarasha replied.
‘Please can I come with you?’ Stephanie quickly cut in with her teary voice.
Tarasha flashed a quick look at her. She wanted to refuse but couldn’t. ‘You’d have to follow every of my instructions.’
‘Yes, I would.’ Stephanie said, quickly wiping her eyes.
Tarasha stared at the sick woman for some more seconds before turning away. She took out her phone and dialed Cole’s number.
‘Cancel your plans to go look for Chief Nonso tomorrow, you would now go to Abuja with Henry to stop the Inspector General from travelling.’ She said into the phone.
‘Boss, what has come up again?’
‘Something urgent,’ Tarasha replied. ‘I need to arrange for an ambulance to drive us to Abuja right now.’
Chapter 17 part 7A
‘I can escape this place easily, you told me all the exits and entry points already and I’ve asked Stephanie to bring the vehicle in case I need a vehicle to escape.’ She replied. ‘The disadvantage I have now is that people discovering you here would jeopardize all my other plans and it would also mean that all of guys at Lagos are not safe too.’
The doctor heaved a sigh of frustration.
‘I’m going kill Dave James today once I get the opportunity,’ Tarasha voiced out angrily, staring blankly at the wall.
‘Who is this Dave James?’
‘A dangerous guy you don’t know,’ Tarasha replied and then turned to look at his face. The look on her face softened and she moved closer to the doctor, staring into his eyes. ‘You need sleep Doc, I think you should take time to rest now.’
‘Are you sure I can do that now that there’s danger?’
‘The danger does not affect you Doc, and I’m going to take care of it in some minutes.’ She replied him. She placed a hand on his shoulder and sat on the table before him, ‘You’re an old man, I need you to sleep now and reserve your strength.’
‘Okay,’ the man sighed. ‘I’ll try to rest, but I need to check the woman again.’
‘Well, you can.’ Tarasha shrugged and stood up. She walked back to the table she was previously seated, dialing a number on her phone. ‘Cole,’ she called with a gasp as her call was answered. ‘Who else knows about my trip to Anambra?’
‘None, except for your team, me and Henry.’ Cole’s voice sounded through the phones speaker.
‘I just saw Dave James here, in the Dr Ekwueme’s hospital and he is claiming to have information about the doctor’s whereabouts.’
‘That’s crazy boss, I don’t know how he could have gotten that.’
‘We need to do a thorough check man, and ensure that there is no mole amongst the new men.’ Tarasha warned.
‘Yes boss, I’ll be extra careful.’
30 Minutes later.
Doctor Ekwueme was back into the room and was asleep in his seat with his forehead placed on the table. Tarasha’s seat was empty, she had gone to check if Dave was still around while waiting for Stephanie’s arrival.
She entered back into the room and walked straight to her table. She picked a bag from the ground and placed it on the table, she then opened the zip of the large space. With her face turned to the wall and her back against the door, she rolled up the white nurse gown she was putting on, she was putting on a tight black underwear which had slim pockets at the front. She took out two short blade cases from the pockets and placed them on the table. She then brought out a revolver from her bag and put it in a case, she placed it on the table. She rolled the gown up above her abdomen and folded it to stay, she then put the gun in the side pocket of the underneath tight. She rolled down the gown to the normal position and picked up the two blade cases, she placed each in both side outer pockets of her nurse gown.
Her phone began to ring. She picked it up and answered the call.
‘Hello, I just drove in now.’ Stephanie voice sounded through the phone’s speakers.
‘Where did you park the vehicle?’ Tarasha asked.
‘The Car park at the left side,’ Stephanie replied.
‘Okay, step out of the vehicle. There’s a open mini restaurant where snacks and soft drinks are sold at the right hand side of the hospital, go there and get something to eat until I give another instruction. Avoid getting into unnecessary discussion with anybody,’ Tarasha instructed.
‘Okay, should I leave the vehicle unlocked?’
‘No, drop the key beside the front right tyre.’
Doctor Brian’s Office.
‘So Mr. Dave, are you assuring me that the police would get all these information I’ve shared with you?’ Dr Brian asked.
Dave smiled faintly, ‘Haven’t you been visited by the police before? They should have asked you the same questions I asked.’
‘Police officers have visited here recently but they never asked of any young woman who came to cause trouble in the hospital, they only asked to know who his recent patients were and if he had any argument or secret business with anyone.’ Dr Brian replied.
‘You said Dr Ekwueme’s son was here that day and he saw the girl, he should have told them about her.’
Dr Brian shook his head, ‘I wasn’t here at that time, I was only told of it after Dr Ekwueme went missing.’
‘Okay sir, thanks for answering my questions,’ Dave said as he got up.
The doctor also stood up and offered him a handshake, ‘I hope you and your media house would be able to gather enough information that’ll lead us to Dr Ekwueme.’
‘Thank you sir,’ Dave smiled as the man squeezed his palm in his warmly.
Tarasha spotted Dave James as he walked out of Dr Brian’s office. She got up from the seat where she was seated with some patients waiting to see the doctor and others waiting for their family members whom had come to receive treatment. She waited until he walked out of the compartment before she got up from her seat and followed him. She followed him at a reasonable distance until he got to the reception. He stopped to greet and acknowledge some of the nurses at the desk and she walked past him and proceeded straight out of the hospital.
She walked to the garage at the left side and located the ambulance. She picked the key from the ground where she asked Stephanie to drop it and entered into the vehicle, she sat in the driver’s side and adjusted the side mirror to enable her view the entrance of the hospital. Soon, she saw Dave step out of hospital and begin to proceed towards the garage at the other side. She continued to turn the side mirror as he came closer until she no longer had to view him using the mirror. She saw him stop beside a blue range rover. He was about to open the door to the driver’s side when he looked up and saw something which caught his attention.
As Dave’s eyes caught the show glass of snacks and cakes, in front of a open area covered with decorated fronds. He remembered that he had not taken anything for breakfast, he locked the door back and put the remote control button into his pocket. He then proceeded towards the mini restaurant to get some snacks and a drink.
‘Hello, who’s here?’ He stopped at the front of the show glass and called. He looked through the various types of snacks available and made a choice of the ones he would love to get. ‘Hello,’ he called again and stepped forward onto the paved part of the shed and looked around. There were only four tables on the pavement and four chairs around each table. ‘I want to buy some snacks,’ he said as he saw a lady putting on an apron coming close to him. He was about moving his face back to the show glass when his eyes met with someone who was staring at him. She quickly looked away but it was too late, he had seen her already.
Dave couldn’t close his mouth, he was shocked beyond words and his body remained stiff for a while. She looked at him again and their eyes met. She quickly began to pack her bag as she realized that he had seen her already but Dave quickly proceeded towards her, ignoring the sales girl who was now trying to attend to him.
‘Hey! Steph,’ he called and ran after her as she tried to leave through the other side. He finally caught up with her as she was about to go down the short stairs and he held her by the arm from behind. ‘Stephanie,’ he called again.
Her body seemed frozen to the spot. She felt a current of electricity run through her as his fingers touched her elbow from behind.
‘Stephanie, we need to talk,’ Dave said in a pleading voice.
She closed her eyes and heaved a sigh. She was confused on what decision to make. Dave had seen her already and she knew he wasn’t going to let her go if she didn’t give him attention. At the same time, she didn’t know how Tarasha would feel seeing her with him. Stephanie had warned her not to get involved in any unnecessary discussions and she didn’t know how she was going to explain that her would be discussion with Dave was necessary without telling her who he(Dave) was. She had no idea that Samantha recognized Dave’s face, so she still felt obligated to protect Dave by not exposing his true identity to anyone else, also sticking to the promise she made to him that way. For the same reason, she had skipped telling Samantha about Dave’s involvement with her.
Tarasha watched from afar. She stared at her phone’s screen, the call dialer had opened but it was late already. She had seen Dave move in that direction but didn’t think he was going to that exact place, rather she thought he was going to use the restroom at that side. She decided to use the opportunity to quickly place a tracker on his car and it was after she did successfully she looked up and saw that Dave was at the same eatery she had asked Stephanie to stay. She tried to reach Stephanie on phone quickly but before she could even dial the number, Dave had seen and was going after her.
Tarasha stared at them for some more minutes and began to walk back to the ambulance when she saw Dave and Stephanie turn back into the eatery to sit.
‘Stephanie, what are you doing here?’ Dave asked, almost in whispers. They had attracted quite some attention from other people there while he was trying to get her back to the seat and he noticed it was part of the reason she eventually gave in to him.
Stephanie heaved a sigh and looked away. She wasn’t sure of what answer to give him and didn’t want to make any mistakes that would cause trouble for the Samantha Osman team.
‘Why are you not talking?’ Dave asked, looking keenly into her face. He looked in the direction which she was looking at and saw nothing. ‘Stephanie, talk to me.’
She looked at his face briefly again and only sighed and shook her head.
‘Who are you here with?’ Dave asked, looking around to see if there were signs of anybody waiting for her.
‘With nobody,’ Stephanie interjected. She looked around also to see what Dave was looking around for.
‘Come on Stephanie, talk to me. What are you doing here? At this hospital and at this time?’ Dave said, staring at her inquisitively.
‘And why do you think I should answer all your questions?’ Stephanie asked.
Dave stared at her with the side eye for a moment, he shook his head and then looked straight into her eyes. ‘I don’t want to believe meeting you here is a coincidence, there’s a lot of explanation you need to make.’
‘Explanation? To who? You?’ Stephanie looked at him with mockery in her eyes.
Dave drew in a breath and relaxed his back, he folded his arms and kept his stare on her face.
‘I don’t owe anyone an explanation for my movements,’ Stephanie continued. ‘I can be anywhere I want to be at anytime.’
‘Who are you here with?’ Dave asked again.
‘And what has that got to do with you?’
The more she spoke, the more Dave got convinced that she had come there with someone else who was watching them from afar.
‘Do you know that you have been declared missing by Samantha Osman?’ Dave asked, still in his relaxed position.
‘I don’t care,’ she replied.
‘I do,’ Dave said and leaned forward, resting his arms on the table. ‘And the government does too. Samantha Osman accused the Vice President of kidnapping you, the government would be happy if I can present you to them because it will prove that you were not kidnapped.’
‘This is none of your business Dave,’ Stephanie slammed.
‘It is my business Steph, I’m a citizen of this nation who works for the government. I owe them the responsibility of reporting cases like this,’ Dave slammed back.
Stephanie shook her head. Dave was making things more difficult than she thought it would be. She looked around, she was confused.
‘Dave, I’m not going to allow you threaten me to tell you anything,’ she said, trying to sound confident.
‘Then I’m going to have to report you to the police,’ Dave threatened.
‘You won’t do that!’ Stephanie replied in a strong tone.
Dave stared at her for a moment. He could see the zeal and passion with which she was answering him. He knew there must be something behind it. He looked into her eyes more intensely and a thought suddenly struck his mind. He opened his mouth in disbelief, ‘Did you contact Samantha Osman?’
‘I think it’s high time I leave,’ Stephanie said and tried to get up from the seat but Dave held her hand.
‘You ain’t going anywhere,’ he said. It was getting noisy and people were staring at them but Dave didn’t care anymore. He knew Stephanie would be scared of getting people’s attention to herself.
‘Dave, I have to leave,’ Stephanie said in a louder tone, sounding more like a plea now.
‘You can’t leave Stephanie,’ he pulled her back, with his grip still firm on her wrist. She was frustrated and was staring at him with a helpless look. He looked back into her eyes and whispered softly, ‘If you are leaving here, we are going together to the police.’
‘Of course, she leaving right now,’ a feminine voice sounded behind Dave and a heavy blow hit his face as he tried to turn back. He lost his grip on Stephanie’s hand.
‘Go,’ Tarasha said to Stephanie immediately, nodding her head towards the gate to signify which direction she ought to take. She pulled Dave up by the collar and sent another blow to his face. He staggered backwards, almost falling on the table.
She grabbed him by the neck and pushed him on the table, making his back lay flat on it. She sent him two more heavy blows on his face and left him to fall to the ground.
‘You don’t just harass girls anywhere and anytime,’ she said as she walked away, leaving the people to stare at her in amazement.
Nobody touched or questioned her as she walked away, instead some looked at eyes with commendation in their eyes and hailing her for beating up a man.
She quickly hurried towards the gate to join Stephanie. Stephanie had already crossed to the other side and had just stopped a cab. Tarasha waved for her to hold on. She quickly crossed to the other side and they both entered into the cab.
Dave was sure of one thing as he managed to get up to his feet with the whelming feeling of embarrassment; he was attacked by no ordinary girl, the girl had to be none other than Samantha Osman. He was more convinced now that Stephanie had contacted Samantha and that Samantha also had a hand in the disappearance of Dr Ekwueme.
He could hear the silent chuckles and see the smiles on peoples’ faces as he tried to straighten his cloth. He picked up his phone and wallet from the floor and hurried away.
‘Where did you know him from?’ Tarasha asked Stephanie as they journeyed in the cab, both of them sitting at the backseat.
‘From the City Hospital, he helped me after you rescued me from the kidnappers.’ She replied.
‘How did he help you?’
‘He changed the drug that was supposed to induce loss of memory into another.’
‘So, that’s what made you retain your memory and that’s why you remember me?’
‘And you didn’t know him before then?’
‘No, I did not.’
‘What reasons did he give for helping you?’
‘He told me he was a journalist on investigation and he got to find out the plan of the police.’
‘And he never asked anything from you?’
‘He never asked for material things, he only asked that I should reach him if you ever try to contact me again.’
Tarasha let out a faint smile, she wanted to ask if Stephanie was the one who called Dave to tell him about her but she decided to skip the question. ‘And since then, how often have you been seeing him?’
‘I never saw him again, until I got to Abuja. I called him because I thought I would need his help in fighting against the Vice President.’
‘And did he agree to help you?’
‘Yes,’ Stephanie replied in a stressed tone. She was getting uncomfortable with the questions because she was sure she would have to reveal Dave’s true identity if it continued that way.
‘What are you hiding from me?’ Tarasha asked, noticing the look on her face.
Stephanie quickly looked away on seeing that Tarasha’s eyes were fixed on her face.
‘Why didn’t you tell me about him?’ Tarasha asked.
Stephanie was unable to answer. Tears began to form in her eyes.
Tarasha was irritated and wanted to turn hard on her, she held herself back on realizing that they were still in a taxi. She took out her phone and unlocked it, she opened the tracking application.
‘So, you were with him when he sent me the message informing me about Chief Nonso’s whereabouts?’ Tarasha asked while waiting for the tracking application to load.
Stephanie nodded affirmatively without saying any word.
Tarasha remained mute for the rest of the trip. All on her mind was how to get a knife into Dave’s heart as soon as she could.
‘We have one minute now, you have to increase the speed.’ Henry said from the backseat of the car where he was seated. He was holding a tablet device in his hands and monitoring the movement of a vehicle in respect to theirs on a road map. Cole and the third man were seated in front, Cole was driving while the other man had a pistol ready in his right hand.
Cole increased the speed just as Henry increased. They were heading towards a round about and their target vehicle was also heading towards the same round about from the opposite and other side of the road. Their target vehicle was going to turn into the road which would be theirs immediate right turn and there they would cross the vehicle and kidnap their target.
‘They’re turning already, add a little more speed.’ Henry said.
‘How many more kilometres per metre?’ Cole asked, even as he increased his speed. They sped past the vehicles in front of them and were directly in front of the roundabout. Their targeted vehicle came into view.
‘D–n! Reduce your speed, it’s too much.’ Henry warned but it was late. Cole tried but their vehicle crashed into the targeted vehicle and smashed it against the highland.
‘How many more kilometres per metre?’ Cole asked, even as he increased his speed. They sped past the vehicles in front of them and were directly in front of the roundabout. Their targeted vehicle came into view.
‘D–n! Reduce your speed, it’s too much.’ Henry warned but it was late. Cole tried but their vehicle crashed into the targeted vehicle and smashed it against the traffic island.
There seemed to be a little tension at first. Henry was panting heavily out of fright. The crash wasn’t so fatal, the target vehicle was to damaged and there were still signs of life in it.
‘We go ahead with the plan,’ Cole said in a loud voice as he reversed the car a metre backward. He then stopped the vehicle and put on a mask which covered his face partially. He opened the door and picked his gun from the dashboard before stepping out of the car.
Basit stepped out with him immediately after putting on his mask which he already attached to his neck. He looked around and shot twice in the air.
Henry was the last to recover from the shock of the crash and had almost forgotten that he had a role to play. He quickly dropped the device in his hand and pulled out his gun, he opened the door and also stepped out of the vehicle. With the door of the vehicle still opened, he rested his back against the vehicle, using his right hand on the top of the car to support himself . He looked around and shot twice in the air to scare onlookers.
Cole proceeded straight to the back seat of the vehicle where the inspector General was seated while Basit proceeded to the front area and shot multiple times at the two men seating there who had been able to recover from the suddenness of the accident. The bullets shattered the front glass and pierced the bodies of the man seated there.
Chief Rikau was sweating and shaking terribly in fright as Cole opened the door. The General had realized that what he thought was an accident was actually planned. He was about thanking God for saving his life after the crash especially when the car that hit them reversed backward. But his joy did not last for more than five seconds after he heard the gunshots sounds and looked out, he saw masked men coming towards the car.
‘Get the f*** out man,’ Cole shouted, pointing a gun at him.
The man quickly hurried out like a scared lady that was about to wee in her pants. Cole motioned him towards the backseat with the gun.
Now, all the cars coming from behind couldn’t not pass as they blocked the road, the ones who could change direction had immediately done so at the sound of the first gunshot. Only one car was unable to change direction immediately, that was the car following the assassin’s targeted car directly, but after struggling for some seconds , the driver was able to move the car to the other lane which linked to the roundabout.
Henry dragged and pushed the man inside and entered with him immediately.
Cole only took a cursory gaze at the crushed bonnet of their vehicle before entering into the car, Basit was already in.
Cole took off the mask and started the car immediately. He threw something to Henry at the back before turning the car and driving away.
Henry picked up the syringe throw to him, he removed the needle case and inserted it into Chief Rikau’s hand. The Inspector General slept off immediately. He picked up his device back and opened the NSCC app.
Dave sank into the driver’s seat and heaved a tired sigh. He leaned his head backward and took in a deep breath. He tried to picture the face of the lady who attacked him but he couldn’t. Her blows were so quick, and so heavy that after each hit, he felt like his head had been taken off and his brain restored to default settings. It even took him a lot of strength to get to his car safely as he was seeing double while he staggered back to the car park.
He tried to relax himself a bit but discovered that he couldn’t. The hunger he felt which had led him initially to the restaurant had contributed majorly to the impact of her blows on him, and the impact was still very felt, he knew the only thing that could help him was to get something into his belly, if possible, an energy drink first.
After resting for few more minutes, he stepped out of the car again and made his way back to the restaurant. He decided to talk boldly and act with confident, even though he was embarrassed at the same place few minutes ago.
He was served an energy drink and two meat pies and he consumed them very fast, but still tried to eat moderately as he could because he was sure people were looking at him.
He felt better after finishing the snacks and drinks. He decided to look around the place before leaving. His eyes wandered to the table he and Stephanie had sat earlier and a quick flashback of Samantha’s blows on his faces ran through his mind.
‘Sh*t!’ he cursed under his breath as he stared down, with his elbows resting on the table. ‘That girl is strong.’
He relaxed his back for a minute and stretched his arms and legs. An idea came to him, it was something he should have done immediately Samantha and Stephanie left but couldn’t because of the embarrassment. He beckoned on one of the waitress.
‘Excuse me miss,’ he cleared his throat as he began. ‘You watched what here some minutes ago. Those ladies, do you know where they came from?’
The young waitress gave him a thin stare, ‘No, I don’t know them. The lady you were talking to only came here to eat just like you.’
‘Hmmm, Okay. Do you know if they came from the hospital?’
‘Ermm… It should be from the hospital, ninety nine percent of the people who patronize us here are those returning from a visit to the hospital or those who need to eat something before taking medications.’ She replied him.
Dave brought out and ID card and displayed it to her. ‘I’m Dan Willis, a personal investigator. Those ladies that left here minutes ago could be very dangerous criminals.’
The waitress stared at him with a funny look, wondering why he was making such stories against the ladies just because he was beaten up. ‘Sir, I do think they’re just regular customers like you.’
‘I know what I’m saying lady, I trailed them here.’ Dave replied.
The waitress sighed and shrugged.
‘Is this your first time of seeing the both of them here?’ Dave asked.
‘I don’t know the both of them, we receive different types of customers everyday, so I don’t remember if I’ve seen them here or not.’
Okay, thanks.’ Dave said and turned back to the table. He gulped down the remaining contents of the drink and dropped the bottle noisily on the table. He got up from his seat and left the place.
‘That’s crazy,’ Tarasha said into the phone in reply to the caller’s speech. ‘Did you make sure that your traces are covered?’
‘Yes, we did. ‘ Cole’s voice sounded from the other end.
‘Good afternoon, who is in charge of your security here?’ Agent Tim asked as he stepped into the security building.
He looked around at the wide expense of the land and the different kind of exotic cars parked around for sale. A well built averaged height man stepped out through the door to attend to him.
‘Good afternoon sir, I heard you asked for me.’
Agent Tim turned him, ‘Good afternoon,’ he replied the greeting, and also offered a handshake. ‘I’m Tim, special police agent,’ he said, displaying his Identity card.
‘Yes sir, I was told. How can I help you?’
‘There’s a vehicle parked outside here, it’s crushed at the bonnet.’
‘Yes, we’ve seen it already, it’s been there for almost an hour now.’
‘Do you know how it got there?’
‘I was told that someone came in it to get a car and hasn’t taken it back since then,’ the man replied.
‘Do you know the person who came to get the car?’ Agent Tim asked.
‘No, I don’t have an idea who the person is.’
‘But do you allow cars remain there for so long?’
‘No, we do not usually allow but I guess this person has gone round town in his new car to test it, he should soon be back.’
Agent Tim chuckled, ‘I don’t think they would return.’
‘Why?’ the man’s eyebrows gathered together.
‘Because they are criminals,’ Agent Tim said spitefully. ‘Was it only one man that was seen in it?’
‘I don’t know how many people were in the car but only one of them came inside here.’
‘You need to ask all your security officers and let’s get someone who knows how many people were in the car,’ Agent Tim suggested, even though his tone sounded more like a command. ‘That vehicle was used to kidnap someone at a major roundabout some hours ago.’
‘Oh!’ The man gapped out in exclamation.
‘Yea, get your men and ask them questions.’ Agent Tim said. The head security personnel turned immediately and began to call on the other security officers using Nigerian pidgin English.
‘Agent sir,’ someone called Agent Tim from behind.
He turned back and saw one of the junior officers he had come with to the place. The junior officer was holding a tab in his hands and coming towards him from the gate.
‘Yea, Inspector. What’s new?’
‘Sir, I was just called from the office and told that the Inspector General was the man in the car, they sent me details of the investigation here.’ He said, showing the tab to the man.
Agent Tim already knew that the Inspector General was the kidnapped man and that was why he decided to be involved directly in the case.
The investigation recorded showed details of how the family members of the dead men found in the car were located. The bodies of the men were identified and it was discovered that they were driving the Inspector General to the airport.
He returned the tab to the junior officer. The head security man was back with two of his men.
‘Sir, these men were around when the car parked there.’
Agent Tim turned to them, ‘Okay, so did you guys see the car when it parked or before it did.’
‘I was standing behind the gate then,’ one of the men answered.
The fence and the gate of the place were made of twisted steel rods placed diagonally across each other and evenly spaced, giving enough space for people outside to see the vehicles inside and for those inside to also see outside. Very few cars were also arranged for display outside the fence.
‘How many of them were in the car?’ Agent Tim asked.
‘I saw three people, two at the front and one behind.’
‘How many of them came in to get the car?’
‘Just one and he didn’t spend up to two minutes,’ the man replied.
‘He didn’t spend up to two minutes to purchase a car?’ Agent Tim asked in a surprised tone.
‘Sir,’ the second man came in. ‘Those guys visited this place earlier this morning in that same car, the only difference was that it wasn’t crushed at the bonnet at that time. They all came in then to check our vehicles, I think that was when they selected the car they wanted. So when they returned, it was only to pay for and take the selected car.’
‘Oh! That makes more sense,’ Agent Tim said, nodding thoughtfully. He turned to the first man, ‘And was there nothing suspicious about them when they were leaving?’
The first man thought for a while, his mind flashed back to the moment. He could recall how one of them drove the car outside and parked it beside the damaged car they brought and how the second one at the front seat helped the man at the back seat to get into the new car. ‘Sir, I noticed something when they were going, it seemed the third man in the backseat was a bit weak, the second guy had to support him into the new car.’
‘And you guys didn’t find it suspicious?’ Agent Tim barked.
‘Well…’ the first man tried to find an excuse. ‘There was really nothing to suspect them for.’
‘We need to track the one who paid for the car,’ Agent Tim said and turned immediately. He glanced back briefly again, ‘Please take me to the person who sold the car.’
‘So you bought two cars and dumped one on the road,’ Tarasha said with the phone held close to her ear, using the fingers of her other hand on the laptop in front of her.
She was in the hotel room with Stephanie and was sitting on the sofa with her laptop placed in front of her on a short table. Stephanie was sitting in the bed at the far end, with her back resting against the headboard.
‘Yes boss,’Cole replied from the other end.
‘Okay, make your plans and move the man to Lagos as soon as you can, we would also be returning tomorrow.’
She dropped the call and focused on the laptop in front of her. The tracking software was on and a location had been detected, a small green circle was on the exact point on the map.
Tarasha opened the notepad application on her phone and typed in the address of the location found.
NNEWI, ANAMBRA STATE
Martin Ekwueme Jnr was seated in the one seated sofa with his legs crossed and his eyes stared sternly at Dave’s face. He had a glass cup of wine in his hand which was suspended in the air with the elbow placed on the raised knee of his crossed leg.
Dave remained seated comfortably in his seat. He was slightly disguised to look older. He had a new moustache and a gold tinted hair by the left, his face also appeared slightly lighter than it was supposed to be.
He had his phone in his hand which he was busy with. He had just finished reading an action and romance thriller on the youngicee website when he decided to switch to the news section of the website. He scanned through the new page and only glanced briefly at the news headlines until he got to a particular one which was related to his purpose in Anambra.
‘ Doctor Francis Onuoha claims to have seen Dr Martin Ekwueme in Ogun State, ’ the headline read. He quickly clicked on the link and the full page loaded in four seconds.
‘ Retired Gynaecologist and former colleague of Dr Martin Ekwueme has reported to the police that he had an encounter with the missing doctor some few days ago in his residence at Opic Estate in Ogun State.
According to Dr Francis statement at the police office, Dr Ekwueme was said to have visited his residence unannounced with a young lady he referred to as his daughter. Dr Ekwueme was said to have been surprised when he saw Dr Francis and they both exchanged pleasantries and shared in the joy of pleasant memories. Having taken few minutes to catch up on old times, Dr Ekwueme stated that the reason he was there with “his daughter” was to make researches on a particular project she had embarked on from school.
Dr Francis stated that they asked questions about the construction process of the house and were particularly interested in knowing the agent who sold the house to him(Dr Francis). Dr Francis however could not provide all the information they required of him but claimed to have searched for the house documents and showed them one which documents the agency of the house and the purchase details.
The two doctors exchanged numbers before the visitors left but since that day, the number given to Dr Francis by Dr Ekwueme had been unreachable. All efforts made by the police to track the number and find its owner and location have proved futile as there seems to be no records of the number in the Network provider’s data base.
The Agency have been contacted and asked if any contact was made by anyone with them asking about the agent who sold the house but they denied anything of such. They claimed that two years after the death of the agent Lewis George, they had concluded all transactions which had to do with him and his name.’
Dave squinted at his phone’s screen for few more minutes after reading the article. Different thoughts flooded his mind. He double-tapped the phone’s screen to turn it on and he checked through the last paragraph again.
‘ Lewis George ,’ he muttered to himself. The name sounded familiar.
He didn’t need to think for so long before he recalled where he had seen the name before. It was the same as Stephanie’s father’s name and he also remembered that the man worked as a housing agent.
He grinded his teeth together for a moment as a totally different set of thoughts struck his mind. Could it be possible that Dr Ekwueme was working willingly with Samantha Osman? And did it also mean that Stephanie had contacted Samantha Osman immediately after they had the argument and had given her all the details about the crime the Vice President committed against her father?
He felt bitter in his heart against Stephanie for a moment. If she had been so quick to contact Samantha Osman, then it meant that she must have also told the assassin about him and revealed his true identity to her.
The sofa he was seated in became uncomfortable, his legs began to vibrate as he boiled in anger but his eyes met with Martin jnr and he quickly tried to compose himself. He remained in silence, angry at Stephanie and angry at himself more for being so stupid to reveal his true identity to her. He never believed that she would sell him out so easily. He was blinded by his feelings towards her.
Martin Junior raised his head up as he saw a figure walk into the living room from the main entrance. ‘Mum,’ he called and stood up immediately. He placed the cup of wine on the stool beside his sofa.
‘Martin,’ Miss Adaeze called back as she proceeded towards him, her eyes were fixed on the stranger who was seated in the living room with her son.
‘Good afternoon ma,’ Dave got up to greet with a bow immediately.
‘Good afternoon,’ Miss Adaeze greeted back and stopped beside her son.
‘Mum, this is the guy I told you about on phone. He’s a special investigator who was brought here by the officer in charge of Dad’s case, and he claims to have a lot of information that may help us find my Dad.’
‘Okay,’ Miss Adaeze said and stared at Dave with a doubtful look. ‘Let’s hear what he has to say,’ she said and settled in the sofa beside her son. The son also sat before Dave sat.
‘Actually ma, I really do not plan to say anything, I actually have more questions to ask than things to say.’
‘Questions? I hope you’re not about to ask the same questions police officers have asked us severally,’ Miss Adaeze said.
‘No ma, I have a totally different set of questions.’ Dave replied confidently. He truly had a totally different set of questions. Better put, his initial questions were changed to a totally different set immediately after he read the news article concerning the doctor being seen at Ogun State.
‘Okay, let’s hear your questions. We have the rights to answer or to keep quiet.’
‘Yea, sure man. You can always tell me if you are not comfortable with any question.’ Dave said reassuringly. He turned on the screen of his phone and began with his questions, ‘Firstly, have you heard that Dr Francis claimed to have seen Dr Ekwueme few days ago?’
‘Yes, the police contacted early this morning to ask some questions.’ Martin answered.
‘Oh! Please, may I know the questions they asked?’ Dave said in a pleading tone.
‘What they really wanted to know was the lady Dr Francis claimed to see him with, but with the descriptions we were given, we don’t think we have such girl in our family.’
‘But you really do believe that Dr Francis saw them?’
‘Yes, we believe.’ Martin said with a sigh. He actually did not believe the story but his mother had spoken to him and gave him reasons why Dr Francis could not lie.
‘Do you know Dr Francis so well and trust him that much?’ Dave asked.
Martin glanced at his mum. The woman adjusted her seating position, ‘Yes, Dr Francis is an honest and intelligent person, he couldn’t have made the claims if it didn’t happen.’
‘And who do you think that girl could be?’ Dave asked, directing the question to Martin.
‘I don’t know,’ Martin replied, shrugging up his shoulders. ‘None of us have the slightest idea.’
‘I think you should know,’ Dave said, looking keenly at Martin’s face.
Martin frowned at him. It sounded more like an accusation than an ordinary statement. ‘What do you mean by that?’ he asked.
‘I mean you have seen the girl before,’ Dave replied.
Martin raised his brows, ‘ What are you talking about?’
‘On the day of the kidnap, you visited your Dad at the hospital, didn’t you?’
‘Yes, I did.’ Martin replied, wondering where he was driving at.
‘There was a girl you addressed that day,’ Dave continued. Martin frowned harder. ‘She was insisting on seeing your Dad and didn’t want to see any other doctor.’
Martin released his facial muscles slowly as he remembered until his frown totally disappeared.
‘I can see you remember now,’ Dave smiled faintly. ‘That girl! Haven’t you thought that she could be the one who was seen going out with your father from his house that day and she could also be the same person that was seen with your Dad by Dr Francis?’
Martin opened his mouth. He had totally forgotten the incident and didn’t think that the stubborn girl he addressed at the hospital that day could be involved in his father’s disappearance.
‘Are you saying that she came to kidnap my father?’
‘I’ve not said that yet,’ Dave replied.
‘Then what are you saying?’
‘I’m not sure yet. I’ve been on that girl’s trail for a while, she’s a hardened criminal and if she really is the same person, your father’s may be in serious danger.’
There was tension in the living room now. Dave could see the panic on their faces, and that was what he wanted, to get them to a state where they would be willing to fully cooperate with him.
‘But you don’t need to panic,’ he said. ‘If you provide me with all necessary details that I need, your father would get out of danger unhurt.’
Martin heaved a sigh of relief. He stretched his hand to draw his mother closer to him in a side embrace.
Dave stared at their faces, he had them where he wanted now, but he knew deep inside his mind that the chances of getting out Dr Ekwueme without him being hurt were very slim.
Chapter 17 Part 8
Martin heaved a sigh of relief. He stretched his hand to draw his mother closer to him.
Dave stared at their faces, he had them where he wanted now, but he knew deep inside his mind that the chances of getting out Dr Ekwueme without him being hurt were very slim.
‘Apart from being former colleagues, do you know if your Dad has other businesses with Dr Francis?’ Dave continued with his questions.
Martin Ekwueme looked at his mother’s face. She released herself from his embrace and sat up. ‘I don’t think so. They weren’t even that close.’
‘Okay, the news reported that Dr Ekwueme and the lady asked about the house Agent that sold the house to Dr Francis. The agent’s name was Lewis George, do you know anyone by that name?’
‘Lewis George? No,’ Miss Adaeze answered in a frank tone.
‘Okay,’ Dave took a brief pause to write some few words on his device notepad. He looked up and stared at the woman’s face silently for some seconds. ‘Ma, I would have to ask some sensitive questions now and I’ll appreciate if you do answer every one without trying to hide any details.’
Miss Adaeze stared at him blankly. She didn’t know what kind of questions he was going to ask and didn’t know whether to agree that she would answer all without hiding anything.
Dave took her silence as consent and continued after a thirty seconds pause.
‘Is there anything Dr Ekwueme has done in secret?’ Dave asked in a calm voice, mentioning his words carefully and one after the other. ‘I mean is there a crime he’s committed in a secret with someone powerful which you think they may come after him for?’
Miss Adaeze heaved a heavy sigh. The tension in her heart increased and tears began to form in her eyes.
Martin knew at a glance at her that there was something secret his mother was hiding. He always knew there was a secret but he never thought it could be a crime. His wildest guess about the secret behind his parent’s divorce had been that his mum caught his dad as a serious serial cheat but it was obvious that he was wrong, it had to do with something probably more serious.
The woman suddenly began to sob, surprising Dave and her son.
‘Mum,’ Martin called softly and drew her close to himself.
Dave remained quiet and unruffled. He balanced himself well on the seat and placed a narrow look at the woman.
She managed to wipe off the tears in her eyes with a napkin she took out of her purse. She sniffed in gently before she began to talk, ‘I have sworn that I would not tell anybody about this and that my children would never hear it from me.’
Dave repositioned himself. Martin slowly disengaged himself from the embrace and balanced on his seat.
‘But you have to tell me now, if you don’t want us to lose him,’ Dave said, flashing a glance at Martin’s face.
The woman sniffed in again. Martin leaned towards her and drew her closer to himself again. He then turned to look at Dave’s face, ‘I’ll excuse you, and I don’t really need to hear what she has to say.’
NEW GENERAL HOPITAL, GBAGADA
Agent James was seated on the plastic chair beside the bed where his father laid in the hospital ward. His legs were crossed and he had his phone in his hands which he was using to surf the internet. A nurse was standing beside his father, changing the drip bag hung on the top of a stand.
James waited for the nurse to finish and walk out of the ward before he moved his chair close to his father.
‘Dad,’ he called softly.
The man turned his face from the wall to his son.
‘Dad, have you heard about Chief Rikau?’
‘No,’ the man shook his head. He wondered what James heard, he knew that Chief Rikau was supposed to be in a plane in the air at the moment, far away from Nigeria.
‘I just read on the news now that the Inspector General was attacked on the way earlier today and was kidnapped by some unknown assailants.’
The Vice President could not hide the shock on his face. He felt like he was going to pass out that moment but somehow, he still managed to stay alive.
‘Where…did you…read that?’ he stammered in a weak voice.
‘On the youngicee website,’ James replied.
‘Ah!’ the man heaved a heavy sigh.
‘Agent Tim is working directly on the case and I believe we would get results as soon as possible, I just hope that this kidnap isn’t by Samantha Osman again.’
‘James, I have something to tell you,’ the Vice President said resignedly. He knew there was no need hiding who he was from his son anymore even if the boy hated him for it. He had no one else to listen to him or by his side, Rex was gone; already taken by Samantha Osman, the Inspector General was now gone too.
‘Is there a problem Dad?’ James asked, noticing the look on his father’s face.
‘There has always been a problem,’ Elvis Richards replied with a sigh. ‘I know you may hate me for what I’m about to tell you, but it’s time I do.’
‘I’m listening Dad,’ James readjusted himself to a good listening position.
‘I am guilty of everything Samantha Osman accused me of in those documents she sent to you,’ the Vice President stated. ‘I did them long ago, it started when I was still young and I had to survive.’
The Vice President’s confession came as a shock to Dave, even though he always doubted the man’s innocence. He stood up from his seat and walked to a window which was just by the side, only a meter away from where he sat. He rested his arm against the top frame of the window and rested his head on the arm.
‘I did them long ago,’ the Vice President continued. ‘I was hungry for success, I was hungry to come out of poverty and live a good life. I wanted to have a say in the society and a name for myself, I wanted to keep riches for my family and myself. I have never regretted these things until today, I never thought that I would regret them.’ The man stopped to sneeze and then continued immediately. ‘I have tried to fight nemesis but it doesn’t look like I’m going to be successful with it.’
‘But, Dad why?’ Why? James said in teary eyes as he turned back. He dropped into his seat and placed his forehead on the bed beside his Dad’s hand where the hypodermic needle was inserted. ‘Why did you do so much evil to the nation? So many people died as a result of those actions and many are still suffering from the aftermath.’
The Vice President wasn’t teary at all, neither did his voice show regret, only his words did. ‘I was a young man, I didn’t start out evil. My only undoing was that I was desperate to make success and I followed anybody who suggested that they were ready to help.’
James raised up his head and looked at his father’s face. ‘What about the recent accusations she made against you, did you kidnap Stephanie George and Madam Henrietta?’
‘No, I didn’t.’
‘But she released some proofs that you had a case with late Stephanie George’s father.’
‘Yes, that’s true. And the pictures of me with Madam Henrietta at the airdrome were also very real but I didn’t send men to kidnap them and I don’t know their whereabouts.’ Chief Elvis said.
There was silence for a minute. James did not know whether to believe that his father was innocent about Stephanie’s disappearance or not, but he also didn’t see any reason his father should hide the truth from him again after confessing that he did the other crimes Samantha Osman accused him of.
‘But Dad, what led you into all these even as a police officer?’ James asked thoughtfully.
The man let out a deep breath, he closed his eyes and swallowed gently. Then he opened them again and stared blankly at the ceiling. ‘I wasn’t always like that, even as a young police officer, there was a time I was dedicated to serving the country with all my might.’
‘Then, what happened?’ James asked impatiently.
‘The bosses I had in the police force made me believe that there was no way one would rise to the top without being dirty, they showed me several examples of people who talked and thought like me and how they ended badly, but I didn’t see and wasn’t showed those who ended well. I wanted success and I desperately wanted it, so I had to be obedient and follow the cunning ways of those who led me. As I grew, I became more useful in their hands and several politicians got to know me. Then, I met Chief.’ He paused to take a breath in. He tried to adjust the pillow under his head, James got up quickly and helped him with it. ‘Chief was a nice man, a very nice man. He was ready and willing to help me rise far above where I thought I could get to, and he also had special interest in me and in my personal affairs. I remember when I had issues with my wife, your mother, he intervened and introduced me to someone who could provide the solution. His life was glowing and is still glowing, so I followed and served him with all loyalty because I wished to be like him. And he helped me greatly, because unlike others who worked with him, I was intelligent and always had solutions to every issue that came up. So he’s behind my success till date, there’s really nothing I can say I achieved without his support.’
James listened to his father keenly, his eyes fixed on the man’s face. ‘Sir, who is this Chief you are referring to? I know so many Chiefs with you,’ James interrupted, wondering who the chief was and hoping that it wasn’t Chief Rikau.
Chief Elvis was about to answer when the door flung open and a doctor walked in with the nurse who had been there previously. The doctor had the patient’s file in his hands and a stethoscope hung around his neck.
‘Mr. James,’ the doctor muttered as he got closer to the bed. He extended his hand towards James for a handshake and the latter stood to his feet received it warmly.
James moved his chair backward for the doctor to have enough space to attend to the patient.
‘How are you feeling sir?’ the doctor asked with a smile.
‘I don’t know, I don’t feel any different.’ Chief Elvis replied.
The doctor took some seconds to check his pulse and eyeballs. Then he turned slantly to James, in a way that his face could be seen by the Vice president also. ‘Another doctor would be taking over from me now,’ the doctor said, scribbling something in the file with his pen.
‘I hope there’s no problem,’ James said.
‘His PCV is still low, he’s would require blood transfusion,’ the doctor answered. He closed the file after putting a full stop to what he was writing. He fixed his eyes on James’ face, ‘Would you please come with me, so that you can meet the new doctor?’
‘Oh! Sure,’ James replied and got up from his seat immediately. He flashed a look at his father and gave a reassuring nod.
20 minutes later.
James returned into the ward with another doctor, an elderly doctor this time around, probably in his early sixties.
‘It’s nice that you want your blood to be used for your father but we still have to test if you are fit to donate your blood and if your blood matches with your father’s, else we would have to opt for the blood bank.’ The doctor said to James as they both walked in, the vice president’s assistant was following behind them, two nurses also followed behind.
‘I’m ready for whatever test you want to do,’ James said.
The doctor stopped beside the bed and stared at the patient’s face with a smile. ‘Chief Elvis,’ he said in a calm tone.
‘You, Dr Reuben,’ Elvis Richards called back in a surprised tone.
‘Yes, it’s me. We meet again,’ Dr Reuben said with a smile. ‘I was glad when I saw your case file been transferred to me.’
Chief Elvis smiled back, but in contempt. He remembered Dr Reuben very well. It was the same Doctor who had diagnosed him of low sperm count several years ago before he and his wife gave birth to James. After the birth of James, he had an accident and the same doctor gave the bad news that he wouldn’t be able to have children again. But contrary to what the doctor said, he had two other kids after James.
‘You’re supposed to have retired,’ Vice President Elvis said.
‘I’m retiring this year,’ the doctor replied. ‘I was transferred to use the remaining few months here.’
After some checks, the doctor turned to the nurses. ‘Prepare to check him,’ he said before turning to James. ‘Please, go with them when they come to call you.’
‘I’m sorry Mister, I can’t tell you what you asked me to,’ Miss Adaeze said after taking some time to think about Dave’s request.
‘Why?’ Dave asked. There was disappointment written all over his face. He had expected that Miss Adaeze would begin to reveal all the doctor’s secrets to him after Martin left but he was surprised when she announced her complete change of mind.
‘Because I can’t trust you,’ the woman replied. ‘I don’t know what you need this information for, you could cause greater harm to him and our children.’
Dave took in a deep breath. The woman was intelligent and thoughtful, he had to admit. He could be a bigger threat to Dr Ekwueme truly. He decided to still push further, but to go about it in a different way.
He smiled and shifted forward on his seat, sitting at the tip. ‘I know so much about his secrets already, I only want to hear your own views so that I can help him out easily.’
The woman stared at him with her eyes unblinking, it was obvious she wasn’t convinced about what he was saying.
Dave smiled again, he decided to take a wild guess and make a suggestion to her and see if she would fall for it. ‘I know a lot about Dr Ekwueme, I know all he did with the Vice President and other politicians but I’ve kept it for a long time, after I saw that he now helps in his country.’
The woman twitched and her facial expression changed, Dave noticed. He particularly saw the expression on her face when he mentioned the Vice President.
She was still quiet and her lips were not moving, but Dave needed to get her to talk.
‘You’re making some thoughts pop up in my mind ma,’ He said as he narrowed his gaze at her. ‘Is it possible that you were also involved? Were you his accomplice?’
The woman gave him a sudden and shocked look. ‘God forbid!’ she exclaimed.
‘I do think you were involved in the crime and that’s why you are quiet about the matter, and even if you weren’t involved, you’ve become an accomplice since you decided to hide his heinous crimes.’
‘No, how can I be involved in such wicked and murderous acts? I have only been quiet because I loved him so much and more because I didn’t want the news to affect our children.’
‘Then you have to tell me all you know, I may get some facts from you that’ll help us rescue him.’ Dave said.
The woman stared thoughtfully without giving any response.
‘Ma,’ Dave continued. ‘You should have read in the news about several ongoing kidnaps, Chief Elvis Richards, the current vice president have been accused of kidnapping several people recently and I understand he’s doing this to cover up his past sins. Your ex husband must have been taken by him. I think that the Vice President is blackmailing your ex husband and would be using him to commit more crimes. Take for example, your husband was seen at Ogun State, asking about Lewis George and then days after, the surviving child of that Lewis George was kidnapped and the Vice President has been accused.’
The woman heaved a deep sigh. Dave stared at her in anticipation. He had her where he wanted now, and he knew she was going to talk. He already had the idea that the crimes Dr Ekwueme committed with the vice President were serious ones which included murder but he needed to get more details.
‘While we were still married, I was searching the house one day when…’
Tarasha stared at the gate of the house from the driver’s side of her car. She checked her wristwatch from time to time. She had made her findings and knew that the house Dave had gone into was owned by Madam Adaeze, the ex wife of Dr Ekwueme. She wondered what he had gone to do in there, but she knew for her certain that she needed to end his life that day.
She closed her eyes for a minute and her mind flashed back to her conversation with Stephanie before leaving the hotel room.
‘Have you heard of the place Ne we?’ Tarasha asked, turning to Stephanie who was still seated on the bed.
‘Ne we?’ Stephanie squinted. Tarasha had gotten the pronunciation of the name wrong.
‘Come here,’ Tarasha beckoned on her to come closer to view the laptop screen.
Stephanie stood up immediately and joined her in front of the laptop. The browser was opened and the Google search engine had come up with results for the search “Nnewi”.
‘Nnewi?’ Stephanie called, looking at Tarasha’s face.
‘Is that what it is called?’
‘Yes,’ Stephanie replied.
‘Repeat it, I need to know the correct pronunciation so that I don’t miss my way as I go there now.’
‘Nnewi,’ Stephanie said again and repeated severally as Tarasha recited after her until the pronunciation was gotten. ‘Why are you going there?’ Stephanie asked. She had been thinking of all possible reasons why Tarasha would have to go there, it wasn’t connected to her mother who was their main reason for being in Anambra.
‘I have some business to finish there,’ Tarasha replied her as she shut down her laptop.
‘Business?’ Stephanie muttered with a trembling voice. She feared that Tarasha was going after Dave and didn’t know what would be the outcome if it was true. ‘Are you going to meet Dave James?’
Tarasha only glanced at her and looked away without replying. She packed the laptop into the bag and got up from the seat. ‘Where’s my bag?’ she asked, looking at Stephanie. ‘Did you bring it from the vehicle?’
‘Yes, it’s in the wardrobe,’ Stephanie answered, looking towards the wardrobe.
Tarasha walked there quietly and took out a new set of clothes from the wardrobe. She arranged them neatly on the bed before taking off her clothes. She pulled out a towel and walked into the bathroom.
Five minutes later, she was out of the bathroom. She put on the new set of clothes and arranged the necessary weapons in her pockets. She took out a small hand bag and put in some makeup kits into it, she also put in a face mask. She proceeded to the door after making certain that she wasn’t without anything that she needed to be with.
‘Please don’t hurt him,’ she heard a tiny voice as she put her hand on the knob.
She didn’t look back but only glanced sideways, but she was still able to see Stephanie with the side eye. She turned the knob and stepped out of the room.
Twenty minutes later, she saw the person she had been waiting for come out through the gate. He walked straight to the car parked by the left side and entered into it. Few seconds later, he drove off.
Tarasha didn’t drive after him immediately, she still had the tracker on his car, so there was no way she could lose him.
65 Minutes Later
Mandil Hotel, Off Ngozika Estate.
Dave laid in the bed tiredly after taking another meal. He had taken off his clothes and had only his briefs on. Thoughts of the day’s activities filled his mind. He never knew his visit to Anambra or his quest to find Dr Ekwueme would be connected with Samantha Osman. Everything and everybody just seemed connected to the assassin. And now that he knew the business Dr Ekwueme had with the Vice President, he was more than a hundred percent convinced that Samantha Osman had Dr Ekwueme with her. And since Samantha Osman was in Anambra and was even found at the hospital, it also meant that the Doctor could be somewhere around. Maybe they had come to do something in the doctor’s hospital, he thought.
He made up his mind to find out, but his problem was how he was going to go about it. He had no backup because his mission there wasn’t official and it would be difficult for him to face Samantha Osman alone, especially now that she knew of his presence.
Chapter 17 part 9A and 9B
Moans and groans of pleasure filled the atmosphere as the two adults’ bodies grinded against each other, the man on top and the woman below with her legs widely spread and knees raised up. The moment of pleasure continued until both partners finally came to a c—-x.
Victor rolled away from her body and laid beside her, both taking in breaths slowly as possible. The room was now silent, the moaning and groaning sounds had completely seized like they never existed. Both of them stared blankly at the ceiling without uttering any words to each other.
For Victor, he had just had a memorable moment he had been longing for for weeks. His love for her had grown and he wished that he could just get married to her immediately and have this moments of pleasure whenever he wanted.
For Patricia, her feelings were mixed. She enjoyed every bit of the sex, but she wasn’t sure if she enjoyed it because it was boisterous and she had not had it for a long time or if it was because it was with Cole.
‘Pat,’ Cole called, almost in whispers.
‘Victor,’ Patricia called back in a soft voice.
‘I don’t feel like leaving here tonight,’ Victor said and turned sideways to her.
She also turned and began to rub his head with her hand. ‘If you decide to stay, I’m all yours tonight.’
Victor shook his head with his eyes closed, ‘I have some work to do.’
She took her hands off him and turned away. ‘You still have work to do after being away for so long,’ she said in a pained voice.
‘I’m sorry dear, but I promise to make it up to you.’ Victor replied, turning her body back to him.
‘It’s okay, I’ve heard you,’ she said without meaning it from her heart.
‘Are you sure it’s okay?’ Victor asked.
‘Yes, it is.’ She replied. She put her hand on his head again, ‘Tell me more about your work and your trip to Lagos.’
Victor’s heart skipped a beat. His mind was too occupied with thoughts and the excitement of meeting her that he forgot to think about what to tell her if she asked the question.
He forced on a smile, ‘I went to Lagos to clear some goods from the port and we had some troubles with the custom officers which is yet to be resolved.’
‘What kind of goods if I may ask?’ Patricia asked.
‘Cars,’ Victor replied.
‘So you deal in cars too?’
‘Yes, that’s what I major in.’ Victor replied with pride.
‘Your specialization?’ Patricia said in a questioning tone. She sat up and rested her back against the headboard, Victor joined her. ‘I thought you said you deal in electronics and electrical products.’
‘Oh!’ Cole exclaimed, his mouth was left agape for some seconds. ‘I thought I told you I dealt with cars too.’
‘No, you never mentioned cars. You said you dealt strictly with electronics,’ she said with her eyebrows raised.
Cole sighed, he shook his head and closed his eyes. ‘Maybe it skipped my mind, but I truly thought I told you.’
‘Well, it’s okay.’ Patricia shrugged. ‘How long have you started the importation of cars?’
‘Its actually an arm of AA’s group of companies which I was given charge of. It’s one of the main reasons I moved in with Kimberly Alex.’
‘For how long have you been in charge?’
‘About two years now.’
‘That means you started electronics before it?’
‘Yes, I did. The reason I called cars and vehicles importation my specialization is because I get more money there, you know that vehicles are being produced in Nigeria now, so if one has to deal with importation, one has to import the scarce ones here. So that’s what I do, the vehicles I bring in are usually very expensive ones.’
‘Hmmm…’ Patricia shrugged, she didn’t know what question to ask next. ‘So you still would be returning to Lagos tomorrow?’
‘Yes, I would.’
‘Don’t worry dear, I’ll be back as soon as I can.’
‘Yes, I know you’d be back as soon as you can but your soon is always a long time.’
‘Come on Pat, I’m trying my best. You know I just have to sort out business.’ Victor said in a pleading tone, pulling her close to himself.
‘I know but I’ve been so lonely since you left. And to think that this would keep happening every time you have a delivery in the country, it breaks my heart.’
‘No, it won’t always be like this.’ Victor said as he turned her face to him. ‘It’s not every time we do have problems clearing the goods, and I won’t always be directly in charge, I plan on employing someone to oversee things for me and reduce the workload.’
He pulled her closer and made her rest her head on his chest. ‘Don’t worry, we would always have time to be together.’
They remained in silence for a while, both of them enjoying the comfort of each other’s embrace and warmth.
Victor got lost in thoughts. He had told so many lies to her that he even hadn’t even been able to keep tracks on the lies. If he planned to spend his future with her, then he had to find a way to purify himself of the lies. The other option was to confess to her about the previous lies and lie about something else which he make true in future. But for him to purify himself of the already told lies, he would need to truly go into the importation of electronics and cars. The big problem he had was his identity, how could he change his real name to Victor and even if he did, the authorities would still be able to trace his source, there was no way he could own or run a legal entity with the records he had, he thought.
There was a way! An idea struck his mind. He could find and go into the criminal and crime records of him which the security authorities had and erase everything and even put a clean record for him. But that was an almost impossible task because he didn’t even know where to start from and he didn’t know how many security bodies had his records and how he could find them.
The knock sounded again and Dave just stood there and stared at the door. He wondered who it could be. He had told the attendant who brought in his dinner that he wanted to rest after she took out the plates and wasn’t expecting her to return soon.
It suddenly occurred to him that he could have been traced. But how? He asked himself. It was more than an hour ago since he got into the room and no one had come looking for him immediately. He tried to recall if there were signs of anyone following him while he drove to the hotel but he couldn’t see anything.
The knock sounded the third time and Dave knew he had to do something quick. He walked noiselessly as he could to the door and stood behind it to look through the peephole, he saw a lady dressed in the cleaners’ uniform. Instead of feeling relieved, he felt more afraid and he himself couldn’t believe that he was so scared.
In most of the hotels he had patronized, he cleaners did not come during the day, they only came early in the mornings and in some few ones during the evening. He stepped back and stood beside the table. He opened his bag and took out a gun, he put it in his back pocket and proceeded back to the door.
Before he got to the door, there was another knock. He still didn’t reply, he stood behind the door and looked into the peephole. He tried to see if he knew the face of the lady standing outside but she didn’t look like someone he knew. After some seconds, the cleaner stepped back and was about to move on. He could see some cleaning materials in her hands.
He opened the door and stepped out, she was already walking away.
‘Yes, what can I do for you?’ he asked as he closed the door.
She turned back. ‘Good evening sir, I’m supposed to be cleaning your room this evening.’
‘The room is not dirty,’ Dave replied.
‘Okay, what about the toilet sir?’
‘It’s clean too.’
‘Okay then, I’ll be on my way to the next room.’ The cleaner said and turned away.
Dave walked back into the room and shut the door. He let out a deep breath as he walked back to the table and placed his gun on the table, he pulled out the chair and sank into it tiredly. After a few minutes of sitting idly and staring blankly at the ceiling, he finally took out his laptop and tapped the boot button.
He connected the laptop to the internet and opened the browser immediately after the booting process was completed. Soon, he logged into his blog admin portal and began to write a new post. He titled it ‘Vice President Elvis Richards kidnapped Dr Ekwueme’.
He wrote only a few words in the main post on how the Vice President had worked with Dr Ekwueme in time past and had a lot of secrets in the doctor’s hands. He wrote that the Vice President must have kidnapped the Doctor out of fear knowing that the doctor could provide proofs to some of the accusations Samantha Osman made against him. He wrote it in a suggestive tone, hoping that the Vice President would come out with a statement of denial and also reveal more details to him unconsciously.
After composing the new post, he scheduled it for 8am the next morning. He decided to go through the content of the post once again and edit the places he needed to.
All the bulbs in his room suddenly began to go off one after the other, the air conditioner also stopped working. He turned and looked around to see what was going on, he turned to the window which curtain was opened and saw that the lights outside the building had gone off too. It appeared that the hotel had run out of power. Dave chuckled as it brought back memories of some years past to him when the country had epileptic power supply.
He continued proofreading his draft, hoping that the hotel would rectify the power outage in few minutes. Just as he finished proofreading and clicked on ‘Save changes’, he began to hear some noises from the door side. He stared towards the place but couldn’t tell what was going on. Before he could get up, the door opened and something was thrown in. He turned quickly to get his gun on the table but as he held the gun and attempted to proceed to the door. His eyes began to feel peppery and his knees weak, a gas had filled the room.
The lights came back on and the room brightened immediately. Dave was already on the floor and the gun had fallen from his hand. His whole body had suddenly become paralyzed except for his head. He heard the sound of the door closing and he raised his gaze. The Lady cleaner he had seen earlier was already in his room. She had rolled a big container in which looked more like a big waste bin but was used for moving clothes which hotel clients had asked to be taken to the laundry. This time, she had gloves worn to cover her fingers and a nose cover protecting her nose from the poisonous gas. She rolled the container closer and stopped beside him.
She squatted in front of him and stared into his eyes. She let out a wicked smile before getting up. She took out a syringe from her pocket which contained the poisonous liquid meant to kill Dave. She moved two steps and squatted again, she turned his body around and then held up his right hand, looking for the right vein to insert the syringe into.
‘Are your parents at home? I don’t mind hopping in to see them when I drop you off at home,’ Victor said as the both of them stepped out of the house already dressed.
Patricia stepped down the balcony while Victor was still locking the door. She stopped on the ground below the stairs and turned to answer his question. ‘Yes, they are but I won’t be going straight home, I need to get to the grocery store first. We can go home together from there.’
‘Oh! Sorry dear, I won’t be able to do the shopping with you,’ Victor said in a sad tone as he stepped down the balcony.
‘I’m not buying so many things, just few foodstuffs,’ Patricia said in a pleading tone.
‘I’m sorry babe, I already explained to you how I’m already late,’ Victor replied. He stood in front of her and stared directly into her eyes with a sorry face. ‘I was just thinking it will be odd for me to drop you off at home without entering the house to greet your parents if they are at home.’
‘It’s okay, you can just drop me off at the junction, I’ll find my way from there.’ Patricia said as she entered into the car and closed the door.
Victor sighed. He turned to the other side of the car and got into the driver’s seat.
Just as she found a good blood vessel to insert the needle, a sound distracted her. She turned and looked up, the sound of the ringing phone was coming from the table. She glanced at him one more time before she got up to her feet and proceeded to the table. She picked the phone and stared at the screen, Elizabeth was the name displayed as the caller ID. She swiped the green icon to the right to answer the call and placed it close to her ears without saying anything.
She sat on the chair behind the table and tapped the laptop on as she listened to the caller.
‘Dave, what’s up? I just left Victor now and I placed a tracker on his car, should I provide the tracking info to the Agency?’ the female voice said.
Tarasha let out a breath and put the phone down, what she heard had nothing to do with her and wasn’t useful to her. She put her finger on the top arrow of the laptop keyboard and scrolled up the webpage opened in the browser. The title of the scheduled post got her attention. She read quickly through the whole post content. It got her a bit confused and she turned to stare at Dave for a moment. She knew it wasn’t possible for Dave to truly think that Dr Ekwueme was kidnapped by the Vice President after their encounter at the hospital. She scrolled up again to check the time the scheduled post was created and the last time it was edited. She discovered they happened only few minutes ago.
She paused to think. What could Dave be trying to achieve with the news article? She asked herself. She couldn’t get any answer in her mind. She stared at Dave again for a while. Then she got up from the seat and began to check around the room. She got to the wardrobe and located Dave’s traveling box. It wasn’t locked and it looked like clothes had just been taken from it. She found a part of the bag where some documents were kept, she took out all the documents and placed them on the bed.
She sat at the corner edge of the bed and began to open the documents one after the other. There, she discovered all the missing documents that Stephanie needed to prove the Vice President’s guilt of the crime. Stephanie had told her that they had been burnt up by Madam Henrietta and even the elderly woman had confirmed that they were truly burnt. So she wondered how Dave got a hold of the documents.
She stared back at him again, wishing she could ask him questions but the effects of the gas he inhaled would remain for more than six hours.
She got up and checked the bag in the wardrobe for more useful materials. After searching for about a minute, she closed back the wardrobe and proceeded back to the table with the documents. She sat back on the seat behind the laptop and tapped it on. She navigated to the browser’s history but found nothing there except for the current page. She hibernated the laptop and closed it up, then she placed her documents on it and carried it with her to where Dave was lying.
She stared at Dave for a moment. He was looking back at her but was motionless and unable to talk.
In the hotel room.
Stephanie sat in the room, patiently waiting for the arrival of Samantha Osman. She could not but pray silently from time to time for Dave’s life to be pardoned. She had seen the anger in Samantha’s eyes when she beat up Dave at the hospital restaurant, it was furious and it scared her but it was quite different from what she the anger she saw in her eyes when she beat up and killed the cultist that tried to rape her. The anger she saw that day was deadly and determined. That gave her a little bit of assurance that Dave’s life might be saved.
Her phone rang and it caught her attention immediately, she quickly rushed to pick it up. Her face brightened a bit when she saw that Samantha Osman was the caller. She answered it fearfully, not knowing what to expect.
‘Stephanie, I want you to drive the ambulance to the junction before Ngozika estate and wait there for me.’
‘He arrived in town this morning and the Inspector General was also kidnapped this morning, I believe he has everything to do with it.’ A lady’s voice sounded in the dark room.
‘Is there any way we can get him?’ a male voice responded.
‘Yes, a tracker was attached to his car and he has no idea,’ the lady replied.
‘Do you know if Agent Dave James knows about this?’
‘I’m not sure about that.’
‘We need to do something real quick.’
‘Thank God you’re finally back,’ Henry said with a gasp as Cole entered into the living room.
‘Did I stay that long?’ Cole asked amusingly, glancing at his wristwatch.
‘Yes, can’t you see it’s late already.’ Henry answered with a frown.
‘I’m sorry,’ Cole apologized, seeing that Henry wasn’t happy about the situation.
‘I still need to go out, I hacked into the police records and I’m very sure my mum is still in this town.’ Henry said and got up from his seat.
‘You have to be very careful,’ Cole cautioned.
‘Yea, I know, thanks.’ Henry replied nonchalantly, still angry with Cole for returning late.
4AM NEXT MORNING
In a white singlet and red boxers, Cole walked silently through the passage between the rooms. He skipped the first two rooms and entered into the third room which door was directly facing the fourth one. He closed the door behind him and proceeded further to the bed.
The Inspector General was still asleep in a corner of the bed, his hands and his legs still chained and restricting his movement. A leftover food was covered in the tray on the stool beside the bed and a bottle of water was beside it. Cole opened the plate to see how much the man had eaten the provided meal. He remembered that the night before he slept, the man had refused to eat the food in his presence. He had left Basit alone in the room with the man to go and have his night rest in his own room.
The food was finished halfway, so it was obvious that Basit had been able to convince the man to eat or that the man was more comfortable eating in Cole’s absence. Cole covered the food back and proceeded out of the room. He went to the first room by the left and knocked gently on the door. He paused to listen for a response. He turned the knob and entered the room.
He couldn’t see anyone, he looked around and noticed that some clothes were on the bed. ‘Basit,’ he called, now facing the bathroom.
‘Cole,’ a muffled voice called back and then the bathroom door opened slightly after. Basit poked out his head, his hair was covered with soap lather.
‘Good, you’re having your bath already.’ Cole said. ‘I came here to wake you, we should be leaving here before five o’clock.’
‘Okay boss,’ Basit answered.
Cole nodded and then turned back. He got out of the room and walked to the one directly opposite it. He knocked on the door and listened for a response, he got none. He repeated the process three more times and then opened the door and stepped in.
Henry was on the bed, still fast asleep. Cole walked to the bed and stopped at the side.
‘Henry,’ he called, staring down at the sleeping one’s face.
Henry did not answer but only changed his position in the bed and turned his face to the other side.
‘Henry,’ Cole called again, this time in a louder voice.
Henry turned and stretched, he managed to open his eyes and let out a loud yawn. Then he kept a sleepy stare at Cole’s face still lying down.
‘Good morning Henry, it’s time to move, you need to get dressed.’ Cole said. He got no visible response from Henry but he believed his message was gotten clearly. He turned back towards the door and proceeded there.
‘Can’t you guys go without me? I’ll come to Lagos when I’m ready.’
Cole stopped in shock. He wondered if it was really Henry’s voice he heard or someone else’s. Or maybe Henry was not yet fully awake because his voice still sounded very sleepy. He turned and walked back to the bedside.
‘What do you mean Henry? I don’t think I got you clearly,’ Cole said.
‘I think I expressed myself clear enough,’ Henry said, trying to sit up. He balanced himself and rested his back against the headboard. ‘I’ll meet you people in Lagos when I’m ready.’
‘You got to be kidding me Henry, how would we leave without you?’ Cole asked, slightly angry. He was sure now that Henry knew what he was saying, there were no signs of drunkenness or odour of alcohol, so Henry was very sober.
‘I don’t think I can go now,’ Henry said. ‘I have unfinished business here.’
Cole stood still, stupefied, he was speechless and even out of thoughts.
Henry returned to his sleeping position in the bed and closed his eyes.
‘Henry, don’t delay us, Tarasha is expecting us all to meet in Lagos tonight.’ Cole said out of anger.
‘Tell her I said I will meet you there when I’m done,’ Henry replied, without opening his eyes.
Cole shook his head and proceeded out of the room in anger.
Ngozika Estate, ANAMBRA
‘We’re leaving right away,’ Tarasha whispered to the doctor as they rolled the patient in the bed into the ambulance.
‘I know,’ Doctor Ekwueme replied. ‘But we’d have to stop on the way when we get into town to get some provisions in case she wakes up during the trip.’
Tarasha and the man who drove them to Anambra came out of the ambulance after rolling the bed in and making it stable.
Doctor Ekwueme and Stephanie were standing behind the ambulance and Stephanie watched them in sadness. She had expected her mother to become conscious immediately after the therapy the doctor put her through but the doctor had instead come up with an explanation that it wasn’t expected for the patient to regain consciousness immediately, most of the patients regain consciousness after few hours and in some cases, the patients could remain unconscious for two to three days and then the patient would go into vegetative state if consciousness wasn’t regained on the third day. However, the doctor assured her that the reading on the machine before he took her out proved that she would respond positively to the therapy.
‘You should remind me once you see a good pharmacy in town,’ Tarasha said to Dr Ekwueme. ‘You can go in now.’
‘Thank you,’ the doctor replied. He stepped into the ambulance and located his adjustable seat at the corner, he adjusted it into a comfortable sleeping position before lying on it. The door was closed by Tarasha from outside.
‘Let’s get inside the vehicle,’ Tarasha said to Stephanie and held her by the shoulder as they both walked to the front and got into the right side, Stephanie sitting in the middle. The driver was already in his seat, he started the engine at once and they drove towards the gate of the hospital.
The gate was opened after the security officers performed some checks and they were allowed to drive out. Few minutes into the drive, Stephanie dozed off and the doctor at the back also slept off in his chair.
After about fifty minutes of driving, Stephanie woke up on noticing that the vehicle stopped moving. She saw Tarasha stepping down from beside her. She looked around, they were on an expressway, the day was still dark and there were very few vehicles on the road.
Tarasha closed the door and walked to the back of the vehicle, there was a car parked behind the ambulance. A man was seated at the driver’s side, sleeping in the adjusted seat and one of his legs placed on the dashboard.
‘I arrived here thirty minutes ago,’ the driver said to Tarasha as she stopped to talk to him through the window of the passenger’s side.
‘Thank you for arriving early,’ she said as she dipped her hand into her back pocket and took out some naira notes. She dropped them on the seat and proceeded to the back of the car. ‘Open your boot,’ she said in a loud voice.
The boot was opened and she saw her package in it. She lifted it with her two hands and began to proceed towards the ambulance, this time passing by the left side of the vehicle.
She stopped beside the driver and dropped what she was carrying in her hands on the paved floor. The driver who was counting the money stared at her, she dipped her hand into her front pocket and took out something. Before he could see what it was she already inserted the needle by the side of his neck. He slept off immediately. She threw away the syringe and carried the body bag on the floor. She got to the back of the ambulance and opened it, then she lifted the body bag into it and climbed up. She pulled it gently under the bed which Madam Atinuke laid. Doctor Ekwueme was staring at her.
She moved to the left side and placed a knee beside the body. ‘This is the journalist giving us problems,’ she said to the doctor. ‘He’s still alive, I need to keep him alive for now, but powerless, I’ve drugged him already.’
The doctor stared at her without replying. He watched as she opened the zip of the body bag and saw a young man lying still in the bag. She took him out of the bag totally and folded it.
‘When the day is brighter, we need to check his temperature and see if he’s safe,’ she said to the doctor before getting up to her feet.
She stepped out and returned to the front seat with Stephanie. Stephanie stared at her in awe, wondering what she went to do. She had overheard Samantha talking with the doctor behind but couldn’t make out what was being said, but she was somehow sure that Samantha had just brought in something new into the vehicle. She had watched how Samantha went to the boot of the car parked behind the ambulance but her mind didn’t even think it could be Dave.
When Samantha had returned the day before without saying anything about Dave, she had concluded that it was either Dave had been killed or he had been forgiven and warned.
The driver of the ambulance continued driving immediately after seeing Tarasha settle down. Stephanie soon laid her head on Tarasha’s shoulder and slept off.
Another fifteen minutes after they continued the journey, Tarasha received a call from Cole.
‘Hey Cole,’ she said into the phone as she answered.
‘Boss, Henry is giving us some problems here.’ Cole voice sounded angrily from the other end.
Tarasha’s response to him was delayed, she had to think for a moment. It sounded strange to her that Henry could give them any problem. She wondered what Cole meant and hoped that Henry was fine and safe. ‘What’s the problem with Henry?’ She asked.
‘He says he doesn’t want to go yet,’ Cole said.
There was silence for some seconds. ‘He doesn’t want to go?’
‘Yes, I tried to wake him up now to get ready but he refused and asked that we leave without him.’
‘That’s impossible,’ Tarasha said in low tones, almost under her breath. ‘What happened yesterday?’
‘Nothing really significant after we took Chief Rikau,’ Cole replied hesitatingly, not wanting to mention that they went out. He believed Tarasha might scold them for moving around instead of staying safe and focusing on the reason for their trip.
‘And what’s the insignificant thing that happened?’
Cole sighed, he had to answer and answer truthfully. ‘I went out to see my girlfriend and returned in the evening. He also went out when I returned and he came back late at midnight.’
‘Do you have an idea of what happened to him?’
‘No, I don’t.’
‘Okay, did he tell you where he went to?’
‘I don’t really know, but it was something about his mother.’
Tarasha knew something was amiss. Henry was not the kind of person that would go out and return at midnight. She remained in silence for a while.
‘What should I do?’ Cole asked.
‘Let me speak with him,’ Tarasha replied.
‘Okay, give me a minute to get to his room.’
It took Cole less than a minute to get to Henry’s room and Tarasha could hear the exchange between both of them; how Cole spoke to Henry that she wanted to speak with him and Henry’s harsh refusal tone.
‘Boss, he’s not ready to take the phone from me.’ Cole replied.
‘Put it on loud speakers for him to hear my voice,’ Tarasha said.
‘Henry, Henry,’ Tarasha called without getting any response. ‘Please, talk to me, what’s wrong?’
There was still no response.
‘Cole, let me talk to you.’ Tarasha said.
‘Yes boss, I’m listening.’
‘Give me some time to think, I’ll get back to you.’
Henry watched as Cole walked out of the room. He let out a deep breath. He didn’t wish to cause troubles for the team but it was now something he could not avoid doing at the moment.
Time: 7pm, the day before.
Location: Gwagalada, Abuja.
The rain had begun to drizzle by the time Henry got to Gwagalada. He found a place to park his car, from there he also studied the location on the map again. He took his tablet device from the backseat and placed it on his raised knees. He unlocked it and navigated quickly to the app, it took it a total of a minute to load and restore the previous session. He zoomed the map until he was able to see the particular street and building address, he then clicked on the location. A window popped up and began to process, after a minute a picture of the building appeared. He zoomed it in and studied the picture for a while. Then he returned to the previous view, he studied for a while again before switching to the road map view. There he studied the routes leading to the place.
He started the car and was about to drive into the road when he saw someone appear right in front of the car. He was startled at first and then he was scared, he quickly reached for the gun under the seat of his vehicle and pulled it out. Before he raised his hand up, the man was no longer at the front, they were now two and were standing at both sides of the vehicle. The man beside the driver’s side had his two hands raised in the air in a peaceful manner.
‘Henry E.G,’ the man beside the driver’s side called in a loud voice. ‘We’ve not come to fight you, we just want to talk.’
Henry stared at them in silence, but did not put down the gun.
‘We just need to have a word with you,’ the man said again.
‘Who are you?’ Henry asked the man by his side.
‘A fan of yours, who you don’t know about,’ the man replied.
Henry remained in silence for some more seconds. He knew it would be dangerous to try outsmart them by starting the car and attempting to drive away.
He looked at the man by the driver’s side. ‘Both of you should move to the front of the car,’ he said in a command tone.
The men walked slowly to the front of the car and stood just before the bonnet.
‘Move back,’ Henry shouted at them. He watched as they took two steps back. He opened the door and stepped out of the car with his gun still pointed at them. ‘Move back,’ he shouted again and the men moved more steps backwards.
He glanced back carefully as he moved forward, he stopped in front of the bonnet and rested his bum on it. He looked back again and looked around to ensure that there was no other person around, he couldn’t see anyone except for the passersby and the cars plying the route.
‘Relax man, we are not here to hurt you, we are here to help you.’ The man who had been quiet said to him.
‘I don’t need your help; just tell me why you are here.’
‘We came to warn you to stop here and turn back, you’re going into a trap, and your mum isn’t where you are going to.’
Henry’s heart skipped a beat as he heard about his mother. He squinted at the man before him, ‘How do you know where my mother is?’
‘I don’t really have information about her whereabouts but I knew the moment you started trying to verify her location tonight, I can boldly tell you that what you have is the wrong location and you have people there waiting for your arrival.’
Henry was speechless and confused. His hands became weaker and he began to lower his gun slowly.
‘Henry E.G, we are here to help you if you would only listen to us.’ The man said, now lowering his hands which were raised above his head before.
‘Put your hands in the air,’ Henry warned, raising his gun at them again.
They quickly put their hands above their head again.
‘Where is my mother now?’
‘She’s not in Gwagalada, and not even close by.’
‘Where is she?’ Henry barked.
‘I don’t know,’ the man replied. ‘But the Vice President knows, and Samantha Osman knows.’
Henry was silent for a while, pondering on the answer he was given. He looked at the man’s face again and squinted. ‘What do you really mean?’
‘Samantha Osman knows where your mum is, she has a deal with the Vice President concerning her,’ the man replied. ‘If you would allow us, we would show you proofs.’
Henry was getting more confused. His hands were trembling and his knees were getting weaker.
‘Tell me more…’
The door flung open and Cole walked in again. He proceeded straight to Henry and sent him a blow on the face. Henry was yet to recover from the shock when Cole drove a pin into his neck.
‘Good morning Doctor Reuben,’ Chief Elvis greeted as he watched the doctor walk into the ward. The doctor stopped beside the drip stand to check the level of liquid in the drip bag.
‘Vice President sir, Good morning.’ Doctor Reuben replied. ‘Hope you slept well.’
‘Yes, I did and I also feel very much better.’
‘Yeah, thank God I have a son who could donate his blood for me.’ Chief Elvis said in a bid to taunt the doctor.
The doctor smiled instead, not moved by the Vice President attempt. ‘Yea, thank God you have a son. But his blood did not match with yours, we had to get from the blood bank.’
Chief Elvis was taken aback, he found it hard to believe. He had heard James discussing with the doctor the day before and had also seen James when he returned after the blood sample had been taken.
Coincidentally, the door opened and James walked in that moment. The two men turned their faces towards him.
‘Good morning sir,’ Officer James greeted the doctor first before proceeding to his father. ‘Good morning Father.’
The Vice President replied his greeting in an unusual way and James sensed that something was wrong.
‘Is there anything happening?’ James asked, looking at the doctor’s face.
‘Nothing really, I was just telling your Dad that your blood could not be used.’
‘Yes Dad, we had to take from the blood bank.’ James replied.
The Vice President heaved a sigh. A look of worry formed on his face and he turned towards the doctor. He closed his eyes for a moment and remembered two occasions where his two other kids needed blood transfusion and his own blood did not match with theirs. He wondered if it was possible medically for his blood not to match with any out of three of his kids.
‘It’s okay Chief Elvis, you’d be fine in a matter of days. The nurses would be coming to administer some drugs to you very soon,’ Doctor Reuben said and turned to leave.
‘No doctor wait,’ Chief Elvis said and began to struggle to sit up. James helped him sit.
‘Is there any problem sir?’ the doctor asked, noticing the look on his face.
‘Ermm… I want to know how possible it is for none of my three children’s blood to match with mine.’
‘Sir… I don’t get you,’ Doctor Reuben frowned.
‘My blood does not match with the blood of my three children, is it medically possible?’
‘Well…’ Doctor Reuben seemed to hesitate for a while. ‘I don’t think that should be the question, what two other children are you talking about?’
The Vice President’s mouth was left agape, ‘Don’t you know of my two other children, I mentioned it yesterday when you first came in.’
‘Well, I thought you got those two by adoption.’ Doctor Reuben said without much thinking.
‘Adopttion? Are you okay Doctor Reuben?’
‘Yes, I am okay. I thought they were adopted because I don’t know how you could have had children after that accident.’
The Vice President was now getting angry. His hands were itchy and he wished he could pounce on the doctor.
‘Sir, with all due respect, I think you should check the paternity of those children.’
‘Are you crazy Doc?’ The Vice President shouted in anger.
‘Doctor Reuben, please you need to be careful,’ James warned, talking in whispers as he faced the doctor and signaling for him to leave.
‘It’s the bitter truth, I carried out that test on you several times and I am sure of the results. Except if there was a miracle, there was no way you could have another child after that accident.’
‘He left with them,’ a female voice sounded from the other end of the phone. The phone was on loudspeakers, two men were seated and facing each other in a living room, both involved in the phone conversation.
‘And did they leave the tracked car?’ one of the men said.
‘Yes, they left it at the same location.’
The man who spoke last sighed. He sat back and relaxed himself on the sofa. The man holding the phone also rested his back.
‘Do you know their destination?’ the man with the phone asked.
‘It’s Lagos, but I don’t know where in Lagos.’
The man with the phone sighed. ‘It’s okay for now; we’d get back to you.’
‘I told you we should have taken time to rescue the Inspector General first,’ the other man said.
‘We really do not have any business with the Inspector General, remember that Chief said we should focus on what he sent us.’ His partner replied.
There was silence for a moment.
‘Well, I’m still wondering why Henry E.G still left with them, I thought we had been able to convince him that Samantha gives no d–n about him and was only using him to achieve her purposes.’ The first man spoke after some seconds.
‘I thought we had been able to convince him too, I was surprised that he didn’t call us by 12 noon which we asked him to call.’
‘He could have been taken with them forcefully, maybe he said some of the things we warned him not to say out and they realized he was toeing a dangerous direction.’
‘She didn’t mention that he was taken forcefully,’ the second man noted out.
‘And she also did mention that he followed them willingly,’ the first man said.
‘Well,’ the second man squinted briefly. ‘She never really talked about him, she only said his device which she tracked has changed locations.’
‘Hmm… Does that mean Henry E.G might still be around, only that his device is what is gone?’
‘I don’t think so, I think he left with them. Remember, we told him not to leave the house today at all but she disclosed that the gates of the place have been tightly locked, he can’t be in, he must have gone with them.’
‘Let’s still hope, he might change his mind and call us.’
‘Why do we have to hope on him? He just happened to be a coincidence, we were not really planning to use him.’
‘But I think he’s good bait, better than Cole. He isn’t too hardened and is easier to convince.’
‘I think so too, but if passing through him does not work, we would have no choice than to continue through Cole who was our first choice.’
‘Yes, we don’t have so many choices and we have little time. The Chief is complaining that we are delaying him from using his experts.’
‘Zoom it,’ Tarasha said to Cole who was seated behind the desktop.
They were in the control room, the place was only fairly lit, just enough for them to use the computer without difficulty.
Cole obeyed her instruction and zoomed the already paused video. Two men were standing in front of the car and Henry was sitting partially on the bonnet, pointing a gun at them.
‘That’s okay,’ Tarasha said to Cole after he took two screenshots. Cole returned the video to the normal view and played it. They watched as the men spoke to Henry until he began to drop his gun slowly. He raised it back at a particular time but brought it totally down after some more talks with him. The men came closer to him and had more talks, and then one of them brought out an Ipad from his bag and began to show Henry something.
Cole paused the video. He took a quick glance at Tarasha’s face to see if she also wanted to see the video paused at that point.
‘Let’s see what they have there,’ Tarasha said, supporting his action.
He zoomed the video again, to have a bigger view of the Ipad screen. Unfortunately for them, what was being displayed on the Ipad screen was only seen as blur in the zoomed video.
‘Can you try to locate another footage captured by a camera that is closer to them?’ Tarasha asked, hoping to get a better view of the Ipad screen.
‘No boss, that’s the closest camera. In Gwagalada, there are no sufficient security cameras yet, remember that’s one of the reasons we choose to put a base there.’ Cole replied.
‘Let’s continue with the videos,’ Tarasha said.
They continued watching the footages and saw how after some minutes, the men entered into the car with Henry and continued their discussion. From there, Cole and Tarasha couldn’t see what was going on again until the men came out of the car and walked away and Henry returned to the driver’s side. Thereafter, he drove to a restaurant and stayed in there for more than two hours, and when he stepped out, he was again with the two men that he spoke with in the car. They got into different cars and drove away, to somewhere the security cameras weren’t available.
Tarasha and Cole took in deep breaths simultaneously. They stared at each other for a while and then Cole minimized the NSCC software and opened the screenshots he took of the men’s faces. Both of the squinted at the computer screen, trying hard to see if they could recognize the men.
‘Have you ever seen these people?’ Tarasha asked.
‘No, I have never seen them.’
‘We have to know who they are.’
Cole sighed. ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have injected Henry with the liquid; it is possible that he would have discussed what they said to him with you with much persuasion.
‘But he would have delayed you there, and that I think is one of the plans those guys had.’ Tarasha replied.
A phone began to ring. It was Cole’s phone, he reached for it behind the monitor and silenced it, Patricia was the caller.
Henry woke up with a headache. He looked around, trying to recognize where he was. It was the medical room of the base in Lagos. He couldn’t remember what landed him there, all he remembered was getting instructions from Tarasha to travel to Abuja with Cole.
He heard some footsteps and looked leftwards, he saw Tomi walking towards him from the door.
‘You’re awake now,’ she said with a smile as she approached.
‘Yea, what happened to me?’ Henry said and managed to sit up.
‘Just a brief illness,’ Tomi replied him.
‘What about the trip to Abuja, are we still going today?’ Henry asked.
Tomi smiled, she knew the memory cleanser which they injected him had done it’s work. ‘Don’t worry, Cole has gone there alone and returned already.’
Henry frowned. ‘How could he do that? Tarasha just told me today that we are supposed to travel.’
‘Henry, you’ve been out for two days.’ Tomi said.
‘Two days?’ Henry shone his eyes wide.
‘Yes, two days.’
‘And you call that brief illness?’
‘Yes, it’s brief, you just needed to rest well.’
‘Two days? I can’t remember anything that happened,’ Henry said, still looking baffled.
Tomi smiled again. ‘Like I said, you need a lot of rest, if you get enough rest, you will remember all that happened.’
Tarasha entered the room at that moment and Cole followed behind.
‘He doesn’t remember anything,’ Tomi said to them as they approached.
Tarasha walked straight to Henry.
‘Henry, are you okay now?’ she asked.
‘No, I’m not okay until someone explains what happened to me.’ Henry said. He moved his gaze from Tarasha’s face to Cole’s. Cole looked away.
‘You suddenly collapsed, I was told.’ Tarasha replied.
Henry stared at her blankly, then he glanced at Cole’s face again. This time Cole stared back into his eyes. Henry knew Tarasha wasn’t telling him the truth, he wasn’t feeling sick before so he knew he couldn’t have just fainted like that and the fact that he was finding it difficult to remember how he fainted made him surer that Tarasha wasn’t saying the truth.
‘I don’t believe you,’ Henry said to Tarasha.
‘That’s the truth Henry,’ she replied in a stern voice, not caring whether he believed or not. She knew that it would be difficult for Henry to accept any kind of lie, so she decided not to bother trying to make him believe.
Henry continued to stare at her blankly, wondering what could have really happened that was making Tarasha hide the truth from him.
‘I hope you’re feeling strong now,’ Tarasha said.
‘Apart from the headache, I don’t think I’m feeling weak in any way.’ Henry replied and got out of the bed at once. ‘I think I should get back to work at once, what task do you have for me?’
‘No task yet,’ Tarasha said.
‘You need to rest,’ Tomi put in. ‘Don’t let the little energy you’re feeling deceive you.’
Henry stared at her blankly, and then he narrowed his gaze and turned to Tarasha. ‘By the way, where is Dr Ekwueme?’ He asked, hoping that all things were right with the doctor.
‘Dr Ekwueme is resting in his room,’ Tarasha replied.
Henry raised his brows and shrugged. ‘I don’t like the smell in here, I need to get out.’ He said and proceeded straight to the door.
The three others stood and watched him in silence, until he closed the door after stepping out.
NEW GENERAL HOSPITAL, GBAGADA, LAGOS.
Elvis Richards looked towards the door as it opened. He saw his son walking towards him and quickly sat up.
‘Good evening Dad,’ James greeted.
‘Good evening James,’ Elvis Richards replied. ‘Where have you been?’
‘I went to work, they are so many things that needs to be unraveled.’ James answered as he sat on the chair beside his father’s bed.
‘You have a new case?’
‘None that isn’t connected to the current one.’
‘Have you been making any progress?’
‘I can’t say, if there has been any progress, it is very invisible.’
Elvis Richards smiled on seeing the frustration on his son’s face. It made him remember when he was a police officer and had difficult cases to solve.
‘Dad,’ James called, looking into the man’s eyes keenly.
‘Yes,’ the man stared back at him.
‘I need to know some other things from you, it may help my work against Samantha Osman. I want us to finish her up and forget about her once and for all.’ James said.
‘What do you need to know son?’
‘I want you to tell me all the steps you’ve taken to secure yourself from Samantha Osman.’
The Vice President closed his eyes for a moment, he took in a deep breath and opened them. ‘Our armed forces have not been able to really secure me, I had to hire a specialist assassin named Rex, he’s been the one stopping her every move.’
‘An assassin?’ James frowned.
‘Yes,’ the man replied. He already made up his mind not to hide anything from his son anymore. ‘I hired him and make sure he receives information from the police and the SSS.’
James heaved a sigh. He now understood all of Agent Tim’s pranks and actions. He wondered how long his father had been manipulating government bodies and armed forces to carry out and protect his evil deeds.
‘On what occasions has the assassin helped you?’
‘On several occasions, an example is the General Hospital Opening Ceremony. She planned to attack that day, but he stopped her.’ the man replied. ‘Samantha always outsmart the forces, he appears to be the only one who matches her intelligence. That’s why I’m scared being here without having him around.’
‘Okay, where is he now?’
The Vice President remained silent for a while. The look on his face turned to a sad one.
‘He was taken, just before the Inspector General.’
‘Taken by whom?’
‘By Samantha Osman.’
James heaved a sigh. They remained in silence for a couple of minutes.
‘The doctor said you would be free to go home tomorrow,’ James broke the silence.
‘Yes,’ the Vice President gapped, a serious look appeared on his face. ‘But I want you to do something.’
‘What’s that Dad?’
‘I want you to call your younger ones, we need to conduct a DNA test.’
James opened his mouth, shocked that his father also doubted his kids’ paternity.
Chapter 18 part 1&2
7:45AM NEXT DAY
Rex eyes fell on the Inspector General’s body as the man began to make some movements in the bed. Rex was tied in a chair while the Inspector General was tied to a bed in the same room.
He had woken up that morning to find the Inspector General fast asleep on the bed in the same room with him, he realized that Tarasha’s men must have brought the man in the last night while he was asleep. The drugs they injected him which made him weak had also made him unable to know when they brought the man in.
The Inspector General finally stirred awake after stretching for some minutes. He turned his neck all around until his eyes landed on Rex. He was shocked at first, then he tried to sit up but realized he could make no movements. He resigned and continued staring at Rex with his shock still on his face.
‘Rex, what are you doing here?’ He managed to voice out.
Rex stared at him without saying anything. Then he looked away and stared straight at the wall.
‘Rex,’ the Inspector General called again but Rex gave no response. He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. He didn’t know what to think. He couldn’t imagine that Rex was also kidnapped by Samantha Osman and was tied down just like him. Before he could make any conclusion in his mind, he heard the sound of the door opening and footsteps walking in. He tried to look towards the door as possible as he could and he could see the people walking towards them.
A total of three people had entered, Tarasha, Nicholas and Basit. The men stopped behind while Tarasha stopped in the space between the Inspector General’s bed and Rex’s chair.
The captives at the both sides turned their gazes to her.
‘Hello Guys,’ Tarasha said with a crooked smile, glancing at both sides one after the other. Then she walked to the side of the Inspector General and stopped at the left side of his bed, where both men could see her well. ‘I would like to talk to the both of you, but separately first.’
‘Nicholas, I want you guys to take this man to another room,’ Tarasha said without looking up, her eyes still fixed on the IG’s face.
She stopped and waited for the men to roll out the bed before she walked to Rex and stopped in front of him. ‘Rex, where is Chief Nonso?’ she asked, looking directly into his eyes.
Rex maintained a straight face, breathing gently and staring back into her eyes unblinking.
‘You know you’re going to tell me this eventually, so why are you wasting my time and your time?’ Tarasha asked, as she walked back to where the men stood previously. They had dropped a bag there. She opened the bag and pulled out a pack of syringe and ampoule and then she walked back to him with the pack visible in her hand.
Rex stared at her hand, he could tell the possible content of the ampoule but he wondered if Tarasha knew how to use it or not.
She stopped in front of him and took out the ampoule in the transparent pack, she raised it to the front of his eyes for him to read what was written on the label.
Rex remained calm even after he confirmed the content. He kept his gaze on her face and remained silent.
‘This is only going to work on you after you undergo a lot of torture, why don’t you save me the time and save yourself from the pain?’ Tarasha said temptingly.
Rex remained silent and kept looking into her eyes. Tarasha also kept staring into his eyes for a moment until Nicholas and the other man returned. This time they came with whips and some other torture materials.
Tarasha walked back to the bag again. She took another pack of syringe and ampoule out, the content of the new ampoule was to weaken Rex’s body. She injected him the second liquid and the men soon took off the ropes on Rex’s hands and legs and threw him to the floor. They began to torture him.
‘Good morning Vivian,’ Agent James said into the phone as he stepped out of his father’s room.
‘Good morning sir,’ Vivian greeted from the other end.
‘Hope you slept well,’ James said.
‘Yes, I did, how about you?’
‘I did too,’ James replied.
‘How’s father doing now?’ Vivian asked.
‘He’s very much better, we left the hospital already,’ James replied.
‘Wow! That’s good, I would call him right away to talk to him,’ Vivian said in an excited tone.
‘Not now Vivian,’ James said in a lifeless tone as he stepped into the living room.
‘Not now? Why? I thought you said he was okay now,’ Vivian replied in a suspicious tone.
‘He wants you to come to Lagos today,’ James replied.
‘Yea, he wants everyone of us to undergo a test,’ James said.
‘A test? What kind of test?’
‘You’d know when you get here, I’ve tried to talk him out of it but he insisted that we must all go through the test.’
‘Tell me, what kind of test?’ Vivian asked insistingly
‘A Medical test, just take it like that,’ James said.
There was silence for a brief moment, then James spoke again.
‘We’ve arranged for your flight, all you need is to be at the airport by 10am.’
‘Ermm… Are you sure all is well? Dad himself warned me to avoid making any trip recently to avoid been discovered by Samantha Osman or her men,’ Vivian said doubtingly.
‘Yea, everything is alright. Just check your mail and confirm the flight, dress up early so you don’t miss it.’ James said.
The call ended and James heaved a sigh before he settled on the seat. His phone beeped and he raised it up to check the screen, he had a new mail.
‘This young man looks so innocent,’ Dr Ekwueme said to Tomi. His palm was placed on a patient’s forehead who was lying on a bed in the medical room.
‘Most expert assasins and dangerous people do have their faces looking innocent especially when they’re unconscious or asleep,’ Tomi replied him.
The doctor glanced at her, she sounded so sure of her assertion. He didn’t know whether to credit the certainty in her voice to her long years of experience in treating criminals or just believe that she spoke what she felt.
‘This guy isn’t an assassin,’ the doctor continued as he stepped back to use his stethoscope. ‘He’s a journalist who has been on Samantha’s tail for a while.’
‘I’ve heard about him, Dave James.’ Tomi replied. ‘He gave the information that made us come to Lagos but chose to betray us at the last minute.’
The doctor remained silent for a while, he hung his stethoscope back around his neck and stopped to stare at the patient’s face for a while.
‘This young man looks so much like someone I know,’ the doctor finally voiced out.
‘You seem to know a lot of people Doc, I know that should be the case because you’ve lived so many years on this planet,’ Tomi said.
The doctor looked around and located a chair, he walked to the chair and carried it to the right side of the patient’s bed. He sat on the chair and stared at the face intently for a while before he relaxed his back.
‘Yes,he definitely looks like who I know.’ he said aloud, though he was talking to himself.
Tomi stopped what she was doing and looked at the doctor’s face, surprised that the doctor was sitting with the patient instead of going to rest in his room.
‘Who exactly does he look like?’ Tomi asked.
The doctor leaned forward to see the patient’s face one more time. ‘He looks like…’ he was saying when the door of the room opened and Cole stepped in.
‘Doctor, I can hear some noises coming from the room beside yours, is she awake already?’ Cole asked as he entered.
The doctor stared blankly at Cole for a while, trying to remember the room beside his. He had been working much more than a person of his age should work in the past few days and tend to forget a lot of things.
He finally remembered that Mrs Atinuke George had been taken away from the medical room and put in the room beside his since she left the critical stage.
‘Oh! It’s possible that she’s awake now,’ he managed to get up to his feet as he remembered. He proceeded towards the door and walked past Cole.
Cole eyes met with Tomi’s as he looked around the medical room. They stared at each other’s faces for a while and Cole was the first to look away, he felt somehow guilty but he shrugged it off. He turned and walked out of the room without looking back again.
Doctor Ekwueme walked as fast as his old age could carry him towards his room. Before he got there, Madam Atinuke was already standing outside the door in the corridor.
‘Where am I?’ she asked as she saw the doctor.
The doctor paused and stared at her with a smile. ‘Relax madam, you’re in safe hands,’ he said in his weak old voice.
The woman turned round and glanced at every corner of the corridor, she didn’t seem to believe his words as a frightened look appeared on her face. Her gaze settled on the doctor again and she was about to speak when someone appeared behind the doctor.
‘She’s awake,’ Cole said as he saw the woman and stopped beside the doctor.
‘Yes, she is.’ The doctor replied.
‘Who are you people?’ Madam Atinuke asked but did not get any answer. She watched the men stare at her for a while after which their gazes moved from her to something behind her. She looked back slowly and saw someone stepping closer to her slowly from the other end of the corridor. It was her daughter, Stephanie.
Stephanie could not believe her eyes. Her mother was alive, standing right in front of her. She had only come to check her in the room and was expecting to see the woman lying down on the bed unconscious with the drip line still fixed into her veins.
‘Steph…’ Madam Atinuke called in a low voice, surprised to see her daughter.
‘Mum,’ Stephanie called back and ran to hug the woman.
‘Boss, Madam Atinuke is awake,’ Cole said to Tarasha as she entered into the computer room.
‘I received the doctor’s text message on that,’ Tarasha replied him, with very little enthusiasm in her voice. She walked towards the table and settled in the seat behind him. ‘I got your text, you said you’ve gotten the identities of the men in the video.’
‘Yes, I have but those men are people that I’ve never met in my life. I’ve never even come across their names,’ Cole said.
‘Let me have a look at them,’ Tarasha said, fixing her gaze on the computer screen. Cole was still trying to locate the pictures.
‘Here,’ Cole said, opening a picture showing two men’s passport photographs side by side and their respective names under each passport.
Tarasha stared at the picture for a while also, she had never seen any of the men or heard their names.
‘Have you found out where they work?’ she asked.
Cole quickly minimized the window and maximized another app which showed a detail profile of the men in the citizen’s directory. Tarasha took a minute each to go through each of the pictures.
‘Things could have changed, these profiles were saved based on information gotten from the last population census. Is this all you’ve got about them?’
‘No, I also located their facebook profiles and twitter handles,’ Cole replied.
‘Are the profiles public?’
‘No, they weren’t but I was able to break into the private profiles. There is no difference between the details they have in the citizen’s directory to what they have in their facebook and twitter profiles.’
‘So, there are no additional details on social media about them?’
‘None,’ Cole answered.
‘Did you check their recent posts?’
‘Yes, both profiles and timelines have not been updated for about seven years.’
‘Oh!’ Tarasha chuckled. ‘Well, there should be other ways to get them. Have you tried to trace the addresses on the citizens’ directory?’
‘Yes, the addresses aren’t valid residential buildings anymore.’
Tarasha stopped for a while to think.
‘But I have found ways we could get them,’ Cole said and waited for Tarasha to pay full attention to him before he continued. ‘I have traced two of their close family members each, both on the citizen’s directory and social media.’
‘Oh! That’s cool but I hope we can get them through their family members.’
‘We can make a trial,’ Cole said encouragingly.
‘I do hope so,’ Tarasha repeated as she got up to her feet. ‘I’ll be back,’ she said and proceeded straight towards the door.
Stephanie sat at the other edge of the bed watching happily as her mother ate the lunch of fried rice served to her.
Her happiness knew no bounds that day. Madam Atinuke had gotten up looking more healthier and stronger than she used to be. Even though her voice was still imbalanced like before and she was still slow, there were still signs of better health. Stephanie couldn’t wait to see Samantha Osman and thank her for saving her mother’s life from the Vice President and also helping her get better.
Someone knocked on the door when the woman was almost done with the meal. Stephanie glanced at the door and glanced at her mother, the oler woman was expecting her to attend to it.
‘Come in,’ Stephanie said from where she was seated. She stared at the door intently, waiting eagerly to see who was coming in. The door opened slowly and Madam Henrietta stepped in.
Madam Henrietta closed the door and stood still for some minutes right behind it without releasing the knob. Stephanie and Madam Atinuke’s eyes were directed towards her but she couldn’t look at them, her eyes were staring at the ground.
She didn’t believe that Atinuke could come alive again. Not because she wanted the woman’s death, but she just didn’t believe that someone with such mental and physical illness like that of Atinuke did not have anything to live for anymore.
She finally summoned courage and looked up, her eyes met with that of Stephanie’s, Madam Henrietta had continued with her food. She walked towards the bed and stopped some metres by the side of Atinuke.
Madam Atinuke looked up and their eyes met. She dropped the spoon into the plate and squinted at Madam Henrietta’s face. ‘Henrietta, it’s been a long time,’ she began in a shaky voice. Henrietta looked down at that moment. She felt guilty and could not look Henrietta in the eyes anymore. She had condemned her to death all the while Stephanie still hoped she could live and be well again.
‘Thank you for taking good care of Stephanie,’ Madam Atinuke continued. ‘Thank you for taking good care of your daughter.’
Madam Henrietta was surprised at her last statement and looked up. She glanced at Stephanie’s face and also saw the girl looking at her with a light smile.
There was silence for a moment but a lot was still being communicated in the silence.
‘I’m sorry,’ Madam Henrietta finally found her voice. ‘I’m sorry for not checking on you all these days.’
‘Sorry? You don’t need to be sorry,’ Madam Atinuke said joyfully. ‘You have been taking care of my daughter and that is far better than coming to see me. You took care of her like yours and made sure she lacked nothing in life, I am very grateful to you.’
Madam Henrietta burst into tears, she couldn’t find words to say anymore. Stephanie got up from her seating spot and walked to Madam Henrietta to embrace her.
‘Do you want to see her now?’ Dr Ekwueme asked as he walked through the corridor with Tarasha. He stopped at the door to Madam Atinuke’s room and raised his hand to knock, only waiting for Tarasha to permit.
‘Is it necessary I see her now?’ Tarasha asked, squinting.
‘Well,’ the doctor put down his hand slowly and shrugged. ‘It depends on you, I only thought you would like to see how she’s doing.’
‘Would she be able to give me answers to my numerous questions now?’
‘Hmm… I think we should give her some more time.’ The doctor replied.
‘Let’s proceed to the lab then,’ Tarasha said.
The doctor turned to lead the way.
‘How well is the woman now?’ Tarasha asked as they proceeded.
‘She’s okay, back to her normal self.’ The doctor replied.
‘Her normal self?’ Tarasha questioned, not too sure of what he meant by the statement.
‘I mean her former self,’ the doctor replied. ‘The only thing that happened is that she stepped out of consciousness, we didn’t do anything to take care of her previous mental or physical state.’
‘Can’t something be done about it?’
‘I don’t think anything can be done to help her case, only few people do come out of her condition and what cures them has not been discovered or ascertained yet.’
‘So it means her previous condition couldn’t have gotten better?’
‘It could have,’ the doctor said, stressing the word ‘could’. ‘But if it happened, I wouldn’t say it’s a result of the therapy she underwent, it would have to be tested and proven if I make the assertion.’
They got into the medical lab and Tarasha closed the door behind her.
‘He should be awake by now,’ the doctor said as they proceeded to the bed Dave was sleeping in. Dave’s eyes were still closed and he didn’t look like he had woken up before they came in.
‘Looks like he’s the lazy type,’ Tarasha said when she got to the bed side and found Dave still asleep.
‘Those drugs are meant to weaken his body, his own way of responding to weakness could just be sleep.’ The doctor said.
Tarasha stared at him for a little while before turning to leave. ‘I have only few words and questions for him when he’s awake.’
Dr Ekwueme watched as she closed the door after stepping out. He turned to look at the patient again and met a surprise. Dave’s eyes was opened and he was staring at him.
‘Please be quiet Doctor,’ Dave pleaded in low tones.
Doctor Ekwueme would have responded in a loud voice but for a reason remained quiet. The voice of the young man sounded like a voice he was once familiar with.
‘You look and speak like your father,’ Dr Ekwueme said in low tones as he moved closer to the bed.
‘Yes, I think so too,’ Dave said as he tried to sit up but he struggled and couldn’t get himself up.
‘Don’t waste your strength, you can’t get up,’ the doctor said to him in a calm voice.
There was silence for a moment, the doctor kept staring down at his face and Dave stared back also.
‘Doctor Ekwueme, why are you working with Samantha Osman?’ Dave finally spoke.
The doctor was speechless for a while. He had never thought of making ready an answer if he was ever asked the question, but the answer was still not farfetched, he was able to put words together and give her a reply quickly.
‘I’m working with her because I want to join forces to bring down the bad eggs of our nation,’ Dr Ekwueme replied.
Dave squinted, he felt an itch on his forehead and tried to lift his hand to scratch the place but couldn’t. He closed his eyes and waited for the feeling to stop.
‘Dr Ekwueme, I can help you out of this mess if you would allow me. I know Samantha Osman is using you against your will but I can help free you if you’d do what I ask you to do.’
Doctor Ekwueme kept staring at the young man’s face for a moment, he seemed to be considering Dave’s offer. Then he moved closer to the window and tried to lean against the wall for support.
‘I don’t want to be freed, this is the only opportunity I have to right my wrongs,’ the doctor replied.
‘Right your wrongs?’ Dave muttered. He tilted his head back a little and strained his eyeballs to see the doctor where the man was now standing behind his bed.
‘Yes, there are so many things I did in the past and this is my only opportunity to make a difference.’
There was silence for a moment.
‘So, you’re trying to correct your wrongs?’
‘Not necessarily correct but also make a difference with this opportunity, ‘The doctor replied thoughtfully.
‘And how do you think you can make a difference by joining forces with a criminal?’ Dave said.
‘Whether you call her a criminal or not, I’m not bothered or moved, but if she really is, I’m proud to join forces with a criminal to do the right thing.’ Dr Ekwueme defended. ‘And I don’t think I have the moral justification to call her a criminal, I think I’m worse, I was a doctor who was trusted by the society but I still betrayed the trust and worked against them.’
‘What are you trying to say Doc? Are you talking about your work with the Vice President?’ Dave asked.
The doctor remained silent.
Dave continued to speak. ‘If that’s what you’re talking about, I have better ways of you helping the society right your wrongs than this path you’re toeing.’
He paused to get a response from the doctor but the older man remained silent.
‘I can help you if you allow me sir, Samantha Osman is dangerous and heartless, she does not care about anyone, I am sure she only wants to use you in fulfilling her mission and would do something bad to you after she does.’
The Doctor’s voice was low and gentle, ‘I don’t care if she’s only using me to fulfill her mission and I don’t want to know what she’d do to me after it ends, I only want to ensure that I play my part in making our mission a success.’
Dave heaved a sigh. He knew he needed to do more than just talking if he wanted to get the doctor on his side. He wondered what Samantha Osman had done to the doctor to make the man so convinced and ready to die with her, so much that the doctor now took Samantha Osman’s mission as his too.
He decided to stop in his trial to persuade the doctor and ask questions about his safety. ‘What’s she going to do to me when she finds out I’m awake?’
The doctor took some time to think of an answer to his question. He stepped forward slowly and stopped beside the bed where Dave could see his face. ‘I think she’s definitely going to kill or incapacitate you later on when she finds out that you are one of those trying to pull her down.’
Dave swallowed a breath. The Doctor’s words ignited more fear in him than he had expected.
‘And you are going to let her kill me?’ Dave said, deciding to go emotional.
‘I don’t want her to do anything bad to you, I know your parents.’ The doctor said. ‘That’s why I’m taking the risk to stand here and talk to you.’
‘So she’s going to kill you if she finds out you are talking to me?’ Dave asked, trying to make the man see another fault in Samantha Osman ways.
‘She probably would not, because I would not hide anything we have discussed here from her.’ The doctor replied.
Dave was shocked at the man’s response. ‘You would tell her all we have said here?’
Dave was too shocked to close his mouth. He stared at the doctor in bewilderment, wondering if Samantha Osman had bewitched the doctor in anyway. He didn’t believe in the power of witches in cases like this but he didn’t know what else to attribute the doctor’s loyalty to Samantha Osman to.
‘I have to go now, staying any longer here would cause suspicion.’ The doctor said and squeezed Dave’s palm in his before trying to turn.
‘Please, Doctor Ekwueme, help me.’ Dave pleaded. He tried to hold back the man but there wasn’t enough strength in his hands to keep the man’s fingers in his grip.
‘I don’t know if I can help you,’ Doctor Ekwueme said, with his back now turned to Dave. He closed his eyes and bowed his head as he thought of how guilty he would feel if it turned out that Samantha Osman ended up killing Dave.
‘Please help me,’ Dave pleaded again.
The doctor decided to turn a deaf here and leave the room.
‘Dr Martin Ekwueme,’ Dave called as the doctor took a step. ‘You went through so much to keep me alive when I was a boy, how come you are willing to let me die now, is it part of righting your wrongs?’
Dave’s last words hit the doctor hard. He stopped after taking two steps and couldn’t move again. He felt tears form in his eyes and his chest beginning to beat faster. He remembered truly what he went through trying to save the young man when he was a little boy from the hands of death. It almost cost him his own career and even threatened his life. That was one of the only actions he took in his life that he could remember and be proud of. If he allowed the young boy turned man die now, it would mean that all his efforts in the past were wasted.
He finally turned back and moved closer to Dave again. He stared into the young man’s eyes and could see the man he knew years back right in the eyes.
‘What’s your name?’ the doctor asked.
‘David,’ Dave replied.
‘Dave James?’ the doctor asked for clarification, now remembering when Samantha mentioned the name.
‘Yes, that’s what I’m called.’
Doctor Ekwueme remembered James perfectly well and he remembered the happiness and grateful look on James’ and his wife’s faces after he succeeded in treating little Dave, the boy who was the first they could call a son and saved the boy from death. He also remembered the bad things he had done to the family of the boy in the past, saving the now grown up boy seemed to be the only way he could correct that wrong he did.
The doctor turned suddenly and without saying any more word, proceeded out of the medical room. He walked straight into his room and locked himself in.
5 minutes later
‘Boss, I just discovered that those men once worked with the Central Intelligence Department of the Police,’ Cole said to Tarasha as she walked into the computer room.
‘How long have they left service?’ she asked as she proceeded towards him.
‘Both of them were dismissed,’ Cole replied.
‘Oh! What was their crime?’
‘It’s classified information, I couldn’t find what their crime was.’
The door opened and distracted them. Henry walked in.
‘Tara, the Vice President’s kids are all in Lagos now.’
Tarasha turned to him. ‘All of them? I think he has three kids right?’
‘Yes, three kids.’ Henry replied. He stopped at some distance from them and settled in a seat behind one of the computers.
‘Inspector James has been in Lagos for some days already, what part of the country did the other two come from?’
‘One from Abuja and the other from Cross River.’
‘And what do you think they are here for?’
‘I can’t say for sure, but I do believe that he may be trying to smuggle them out of the country through other means apart from flights.’
Tarasha chuckled. ‘I believe you’d update us with that.’
‘Yes, I would as I find out more.’ Henry replied.
Tarasha got up from her seat and turned round the table to the other side. She pulled out a drawer and took a tablet device from it.
‘Henry,’ she called as she walked towards him. ‘This device is secured tightly and could not be opened by the android unlocker, I’ve not had time to try other means. Can you get it opened for us?’
Henry collected the device from her and observed the body and label for a while. ‘Whose device is it?’
‘It’s for Rex,’ she replied.
‘Oh! That guy is still with us?’ Henry asked rhetorically.
‘I need to go there now, he vomited after we injected him this morning.’ Tarasha said. ‘The old doctor says he probably has some kind of immunity against the liquid and it may be difficult to make him confess even after injecting the liquid.’
‘Immunity?’ Cole and Henry said simultaneously. They glanced quickly at each other after.
‘Yes, he does a lot of hard drugs. The old doctor explained that some of the substances in those drugs could form antigens against the liquid in his blood cells and it could take us more than injecting him once before he speaks.’
‘How many times can the injection be given in a day?’ Cole asked.
‘It can’t be given to a person more than once in two days, it could kill the person.’ Tarasha replied.
‘Sh*t, we shouldn’t wait that long to get Chief Nonso out of Rex’s prison.’ Cole cursed.
‘That’s exactly why we need to unlock that device as soon as possible,’ Tarasha said, facing Henry. ‘If it happens that he has immunity against the injection, we could be able track all his recently visited locations from the location history or call history in the device.’
‘I’ll start work on the device immediately,’ Henry said.
Tarasha nodded gently. She stared at their faces silently for a while before she turned and proceeded to the door. She opened the door and suddenly stopped without stepping out. She turned back. Cole and Henry had their eyes fixed on her.
‘Agent Dave James is awake,’ she said. ‘I heard him speaking with the doctor, Cole, I need you to place an eye on them through the cameras.’
Cole nodded in response. He turned back to the system and opened the in-house camera software. He heard the sound of the door being shut as the app processed.
There was no way Agent Dave could escape, Cole was sure. The only persons who knew how to get out of that building without being led was he, Henry and Tarasha but he still had to place an eye on the Agent as Tarasha had instructed.
‘Now, after this is what?’ Vivian asked James impatiently.
The three siblings were seated in a room in the hospital after the samples of their blood had been taken by the hospital laboratory staffs.
‘Let’s wait for the doctor to talk to us,’ James replied his impatient sister.
The doctor walked in at the same minute and the siblings placed their gazes on him.
‘Inspector James, the result of the tests would be out in three days.’ the doctor said, looking directly at James.
‘Why in three days time, I thought it would out in few hours time.’ James argued, getting up to his feet.
‘No, this is a DNA test, it doesn’t work like that,’ the doctor said as he proceeded towards the exit door at the other side. ‘I’ll call your father as soon as the results are ready.’
‘Why do you have to call my father? Can’t you inform me when it’s out?’ James questioned.
‘Your Dad requested for the test and with the eagerness with which he requested, I’m sure he would like to be the first person to know when the results are out. We’re done with the test, you guys can leave now,’ the doctor replied as he stepped out of the room through the door.
James sat back on the chair and let out a deep breath, staring at the ground. He raised his head up after some seconds and glanced at his younger ones, ‘I think we have to leave now.’
‘No, we can’t leave. Not until you tell us why we needed a DNA test,’ Vivian objected strongly.
James stared at her face speechlessly. The other brother also stared at James’ face, expecting him to give a reply to Vivian’s objection.
‘Dad wants the DNA test, you heard the doctor say it was Dad’s personal request, didn’t you?’ James replied.
‘Why in the world does Dad want a DNA test?’ Vivian fired.
‘I think you should direct your anger to Dad when you see him and not me,’ James said, already getting impatient with Vivian.
‘Brother, why are you talking like this?’ the other brother joined them. ‘You mean you called us to come meet you here and carry out a DNA test without knowing why we had to undergo the test?’
James sighed, he was now short of words to defend himself.
‘Brother, you got to give some explanation to us. You can’t tell us, you called Vivian to fly down from Abuja and me from Cross River without knowing the reason for the DNA test.’
‘Is he awake now?’ Tarasha asked as she climbed up the balcony of the building.
‘Yes, he’s been awake for about three hours now.’ Nicholas replied, walking by her side.
‘Has he spoken any word yet?’
‘No, he hasn’t.’
There was silence for a while as they got into the house and walked through the living room.
‘Are the other men all present?’ Tarasha asked.
‘Yes, they are. Waiting for you in the main room,’ Nicholas answered.
‘How many of them know that we have a new hostage here?’
‘Just I and Basit, the others have only gathered in response to your invitation.’
There was silence for the rest of the time Tarasha and Nicholas used to walk to the board room. They got in and met all the six men seated around the table. All stood up to honour Tarasha as she got in. She signaled for them to sit and remained standing behind the chair she was supposed to sit on. Nicholas also took his seat.
She stood in silence for a while. Then she dipped her hand into her back pocket and took out an android phone, with something very tiny hidden from other’s view under it. She adjusted the wristwatch on her hand carefully before she returned her focus to her audience. She pointed to the man seated at the rear end of the table and ordered him to stand up. He was the same person who drove her, the doctor and Stephanie to Anambra State.
The man obeyed and got up to his feet with a confused look on his face, he wondered why she needed him to stand.
‘I’ll like you to explain to the rest of the team, why and how you got drunk during a mission?’ Tarasha asked. All eyes in the room turned to the man immediately.
His heart began to beat fast. He remembered having woken up later that day to find a note left by Samantha Osman in his room to call her whenever he woke up. He had gone to meet Stephanie out of fear immediately and the young girl explained to him that Samantha had called him on phone several times and needed him to work but he had been too drunk to get up. He was surprised later when he saw her later and she did not talk about it with him and had thought she had forgotten about it when they returned back to Lagos without her mentioning it.
‘You have twenty seconds to start talking,’ Tarasha said in a frightful voice.
For the first three seconds, he stood without knowing what to do but then his instincts told him he could only save himself by escaping. He remembered that they had all come in for the meeting through the backdoor of the room which was right behind him. He turned sharply and headed for the door, he got there in three seconds and struggled to turn the knob but it was stiff. He continued to struggle with the door until he realized there was no way it would open easily.
Tarasha glanced at her wristwatch, he had nine seconds more. She placed her stare on his face and he stared back at her too.
Then he tried to play smart and reached for the gun in his pocket. He took it out and pointed it at Tarasha.
She wasn’t shaken by his gesture. She glanced at her wristwatch and saw that he had only three seconds remaining.
She raised her right hand up and before the man could do anything, a tiny piece of arrow had gotten into his forehead. He fell to the floor lifelessly.
All the other men stared at her in horror.
She returned the android phone into her pocket. ‘Clear his body,’ she said, looking at one of the men at the right side. ‘You would get other instructions later, I think that’s the end of the meeting for today.’
‘Have you taken your lunch?’ Cole asked, surprised to meet Henry in the control room as he walked in.
‘I would do that very soon,’ Henry replied. ‘It’s taking longer than I expected. Rex has good knowledge of securing phones.’
‘It’s expected,’ Cole commented.
Cole’s phone rang and caused a distraction. He brought it out of his pocket and glanced at the screen. Patricia was the caller.
‘Hey Vic, I’m coming to Lagos tomorrow. My company is bringing us for a five days training.’
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