Chapter 10 part 3
Henry heaved a sigh of frustration. ‘But we can just run away, leave this place or leave the country completely.’
‘No, we will not do that. Never!’
There was another moment of silence, this time longer than all the others put together.
Henry finally broke the silence with a very calm silence, ‘Tara, is there any way we can do this without killing people?’
‘You mean is there any way we can kill people without killing people?’ Tarasha replied him in a rather sarcastic manner.
‘Is there any way we can make sure those men receive their punishment without killing them?’ Henry replied her in a desperate tone.
‘Henry, we’ve gone through this over and over again. It seems like every bit of rest you have makes you reconsider and change your mind always but I have told you that there’s no way out of this. We have to do what we have to do and even if we decide not to do it, those people would still come after us no matter where we run to.’
Another silence occurred, it seemed to be the pattern of the day’s discussion, only the intake and release of breath could be heard. Both stared at each other for a while before Henry looked away and fixed a thin stare at the ground.
Tarasha kept on looking at his eyes, not sure if it was fear or uncertainty she could see there. She closed her eyes to think for a brief moment. ‘Henry,’ she called calmly after a minute. ‘I don’t have to put you into all these you know, you can leave if you want to, I’ll ensure you cross the border safely and also make sure you get a new identity outside the country.’
‘Leave the country?’ Henry shone his eyes at her as if he was shocked by her words. ‘I’m not going anywhere without you.’
‘I’m not about to go anywhere with you, it would mean betraying the Nefary clan.’
‘What is that, Nefary?’ Henry narrowed his look at her face.
She rose up and walked two steps to him. She placed a hand on his shoulder and then squatted, bringing her hand down to his elbow. She looked directly into his eyes before she began to speak, ‘Look Henry, I was born to be an assassin and I can’t deny who I am. You have a different path, you have tried staying with me and it’s not working. The best you can do for the both of us is to leave and go somewhere very far because anywhere close to me would never be safe for you.’
He took her hand off his elbow and got up. ‘I’m not going anywhere, I’m going to stay here until I convince you and we leave together.’ he said and proceeded towards the door. She watched him as he opened the door and slammed it shut after stepping out. She fell flat in her bed and buried her face in the pillow.
Patricia watched him with the side eye as he put the phone close to his ears. She was alert and ready for any surprise he would come up with. She opened the gate of the boot behind the van and continued to watch Cole from the hole between the door and the van, she also hoped Dave was watching from where he was like he had promised.
‘Hey…’ she paused to listen to him as she began to hear his voice. ‘I’ve got…’ she couldn’t hear his voice anymore as he reduced it and turned to the other side.
She took some seconds to look around towards where Dave had parked the car and was supposed to be watching from but she couldn’t see him there. Her eyebrows gathered together in panic at the thought of Dave leaving her alone against their agreement. She was still wondering where he could have gone when she heard the guy’s voice again, he had turned towards her and took two steps forward before stopping again. She quickly tried to comport herself for him not to notice anything if he comes to the boot. At the same time she saw Dave walking from a building close to the car back to the car. He had a phone close to his ear and was looking towards them. He displayed a thumbs up to her as he saw her watching. That gave her more confidence and she believed that Dave must have been listening to the the conversation the guy was having on phone and there was no problem for them. She turned back to goods in the boot and leaned forward to open a carton. She ensured she positioned her backside in a way that Cole wouldn’t miss it when he gets to the back of the van.
‘I did not…’ she could hear Cole saying as he walked to the back after ending his phone call. His words were cut short when his eyes met with the trap she set for him.
She could hear him take in a deep breath and release it immediately. ‘You did not do what?’ she said, changing her position with a twist as she knew his eyes will still be on it.
Cole sighed. ‘I think I should just open my boot now,’ he said and turned to the Lexus car CR-V car he drove there.
She had faced him by the time he finished making space in his boot. ‘You were saying something before you went to your car sir,’ she said, looking straight into his eyes seductively.
Even though Cole was getting irritated over her moves and the way she was looking at him which he knew was intended to seduce him, he couldn’t deny her obvious assets which could make any man go crazy when flaunted.
‘I forgot to ask for a delivery man,’ he said as he moved to the boot of the van and took a brief overview of what was in it. ‘Do I own the carton I saw you opening?’
‘No,’ she replied as she shifted closer to him, still looking into his eyes. ‘It’s a carton of beverages and we’re giving you one pack as a bonus.’
‘Oh!’ he took on a deep breath, shaking his head as the scent of her perfume filled his nostrils. He placed a look at her again. He wasn’t anymore impressed about her but he still wouldn’t mind a banging her crazily if he got the chance, maybe just one night will weaken her body and make her stop the naughty moves she was making because he would ensure he doesn’t stop with her until she had an headache and pains all over her body. That’s how he treated girls who acted so desperate to get down with him, he handled them roughly and violently like toys during the action and Patricia was looking like one who deserved it. ‘Okay, I have to start moving these one after the other.’ he said and began to pull out a sack.
‘I could help you, just for today,’ she said and bent to help move out the carton of chicken, using her bum to rub his legs consciously.
Cole dropped the sack on the ground and stood still, watching her as she carried the carton to his boot. She dropped it and was walking back to him when she saw him staring at her with a strange look on his face.
‘So is this how all you ladies at the EasyShoppers behave? Seducing male customers even at public places? Can you just use your brain for once?’ he slammed.
She didn’t give a verbal response but he could see her shoulders drop and her countenance fall. The glow in her eyes with which she moved about disappeared. She turned silently and then walked to the front of the van. Cole was left alone until he finished moving everything into his car.
He closed the boot of the CR-V and walked to the front to meet her. She was leaning against the bonnet of the van and staring down. He was surprised to see her already putting on a jacket on top of her crop top. The jacket covered down her waist down to her thighs. He shook his head as he presumed that that was the way she must have dressed before she left the office and must have taken off the jacket because he was a male customer, she probably wanted to get some extra money off him.
She faced up as he got close to her. She still carried the sombre look she had on when he insulted her. She looked at his face with no seductive looks this time, instead she looked more like a beaten child. Cole was confused and amazed at the same time. He already saw her as a prostitute who had a lucky job at the EasyShoppers but was confused on seeing the remorseful look she now had on her face.
‘I’m done,’ he was the first to speak.
She quietly walked away from his front to the back of the van and took out a nylon pack before closing the back. She walked back to him and stretched the pack for him to have. ‘It’s a bonus to all our customers for this month,’ she said with a lifeless voice.
‘Thank you,’ he collected it, still looking at her face and amazed at her change in countenance.
She silently passed his side as he refused to give way and turned to the driver’s side of the van. Cole stood still and watched till she entered into the vehicle and started the engine before he knocked the window to the passengers’ side. He got her attention and she wind down the glass.
‘Are you leaving without making me sign to confirm receipt of the goods?’
‘Oh!’ she let out a gasp and shook her head like she had forgotten the last stage of the delivery job. She killed the engine and stepped out of the car again with her receipt book. She turned to where he stood and opened the page for him to sign, handing him a pen to use.
Cole collected the book and pen but closed it instead of signing. He stared at her and bit his lips slightly, ‘I’m sorry for talking that way to you.’ He found himself apologizing.
‘You didn’t do any wrong sir, I’m sorry for acting badly and not being professional.’ she apologized back without looking at his face.
Cole still stared at her face without making any move while she stared at the ground.
‘Please sign the receipt sir, I have to return to the office now.’ she spoke again without looking at him.
‘Do you forgive me for talking badly to you?’
‘You didn’t offend me sir.’
Cole moved the pen and receipt book in his right hand to the left and placed his hand under her chin to lift up her face. He did until he saw her eyes looking at his face.
‘I offended you, would you just say you forgive me so that I can sign now.’
She turned her head to move her chin off his fingers, ‘You didn’t offend me sir but I forgive you if that’s what you want me to say.’
Cole let out a crooked smile and still continued to stare at her face. ‘How do I know you’ve truly forgiven me?’ he asked and paused to hear her reply but she gave none. ‘Can I take you out for dinner tonight?’
‘Please sign sir, I would like to leave immediately.’
‘Please,’ he pleaded in a melodious tone.
‘No sir, it’s against the ethics of our job to get personal with customers.’
‘Huh ho!’ her words left his mouth opened in surprise. She wasn’t about to stop amazing him yet. He stared at her and wondered how someone who was desperate to seduce him few minutes ago now remembered her job ethics. He was tempted to ask her why she made all the moves she made earlier when she knew it was against her job but he decided to let it slide so as not to spoil his chances of getting her to go out with him.
‘Don’t mind how I acted to you earlier, just forgive me and forget that.’ he said, raising her face up again.
‘It’s okay,’ she finally said unsmiling.
‘Thank you,’ Cole smiled and opened the receipt book to sign. ”I’ll call you with the number you gave me the last time, can I pick you up here by 6:30?’
Tarasha had slept for two hours when the sound of her phone’s ringing tone woke up. She got up from the bed and realized that she had slept off since Henry left the room. She was already getting used to taking naps in the afternoon like the nurse had advised for her to make her recovery fast. But she knew it was just for the moment; soon there might just be no time for her to even relax at night.
The phone had stopped ringing by the time she got to the table. She picked it and swiped it open to see the ID of the missed caller. It was Chief Gab calling with a Nigerian number. She dialed back.
‘Good afternoon Chief, I see you are in town already.’
‘Yes, I landed not up to thirty minutes ago.’ The Chief replied.
‘Okay then, I’ll see you tomorrow.’
‘What time are you coming? What time is your flight leaving?’
‘I’ll be coming anytime, just prepare for me. You would receive my call when I get there.’
‘I thought you would need someone to pick you from the airport,’ the man said.
‘No, you should not worry about that. All you need to do is to make sure you are ready with the documents.”
‘Alright Tarasha, I will be expecting you.’ the man said and the call ended.
Tarasha dropped the phone on the table and was about to settle on the chair when she heard a soft knock at the door.
‘Come in,’ she said as she sat.
The door opened slowly and Cole walked in.
‘D–n it! I was scared when I couldn’t find you at the car, I thought you left already.’ Tomi said in a stressed tone to Dave as he drove the car with her by his side.
‘I could see the fright on your face even from the far distance.’ he replied with a chuckle. ‘Who did you think he was calling?’
‘I thought he was calling a backup or maybe one his men, I thought he had discovered I was there on a different mission from the EasyShoppers but I became relaxed when I saw you with the phone. Who was he speaking to?’
‘He called the EasyShoppers line.’
‘Huh?’ Lizzy’s eyes shone in surprise.
‘Yea, but I didn’t let it go through. He spoke to me instead.’
‘Wow! You were so fast.’
‘Yea, I had to leave the car then because I wanted to watch every of your moves, so I moved to a place the van wasn’t blocking my view.’
‘What did he say?’
‘He wanted to confirm who was sent to make the delivery.’
‘I knew he had doubts with the way he was staring.’
‘He sure did.’
‘How were you able to intercept? Was it just the little time you spent accessing the EasyShoppers’ data that you configured your device with theirs and turned around their settings.’
‘Yes, those guys never expected this kind of day to come so they did not provide top security for their systems. I did it in such a way that I can intercept any of their calls to 55678 which is the number that responds to calls from Asokoro and Maitama but I only get an alarm on my device whenever Kimberly’s number is trying to connect or they are trying to connect to her.’
‘So does that mean Kimberly and her guys live in Asokoro or Maitama?’
‘Not necessarily, it only means they registered with EasyShoppers in one of these two places.’
‘Now, we have to plan for tonight. Did you still put the tracker anywhere?’
‘No, you asked me not to do that only if I saw that there was no good rapport between us.’
‘But you said he accused you of trying to seduce him.’
‘Yes, he did but I could see that he still wanted to have a taste and I knew he was still going to fall.’
:Well, it’s what you specialize at, I shouldn’t be surprised that you knew what every of his reaction meant.’
‘I did, and do I need to meet him tonight?’
‘Did you agree to?’
‘Good day boss,’ he bowed slightly before closing back the door.
‘Cole,’ she called his name in response to his greeting. ‘Have you gotten any useful data yet?’
‘Ermmm… I don’t really think what I’ve got is useful,’ he said and began to walk closer to her.
‘What have you gotten?’
‘I found out this morning that there’s been no other police officer or team handling the Samantha Osman case and there are no records of any other security agency acting on it.’
Tarasha took in a breath as she stared thinly into the air.
‘So Agent Tim’s team is still in charge of the case?’ she asked. Cole nodded in affirmation, muttering a ‘yes’ which could only be read by the movement of his lips. ‘So it means that the guy who helped you on that day isn’t a member of the agent’s team.’
‘Yes and I don’t think he’s a member of the police force also,’ Cole stated.
‘Why do you say so?’
‘He’s been declared wanted by the Police for a month now, I believe they should have fished him out if he was one of them.’
‘Didn’t you say he had a bandage on his head?’
‘Yes, he did. He looked seriously injured and…’ Cole paused, a confused look appeared on his face. ‘But his carriage wasn’t like that of a seriously injured person, he moved and acted so swift.’
‘That could just be as a result of a training he might have undergone,’ Tarasha said. ‘And that leads us closer to finding who he is; which armed force in Nigeria do you think has the ability to be that swift?’
‘I’ve thought about it also and there are so many of them, he could be a personal investigator who was trained somewhere outside the country or a special intelligence officer of one of the forces except the police.’
‘He can’t be a personal investigator, the Vice President and Inspector General who are the men in focus won’t employ a personal investigator when they have Rex…’ she stopped to think for a while. Then she turned to the table and picked her phone, she began to scroll through. I made some research and my findings were that the State Security Service in Nigeria would also be involved in the case since it involves top government officials and then I searched and found the pictures of some SSS men that have been involved in the case, I have them here,’ she said, stretching the phone towards him. He quickly walked forward to collect it. ‘Just keep swiping, they all have the same name pattern.’
Cole took about two minute to stare at the ten pictures of two men, five for each man. He shook his head, ‘Boss, this guy looked younger than these men. I know these two men before, they’ve spoken about the case on national TV before but it’s just that I didn’t find any existing record.’
‘Well, I was thinking it could be someone under them if it isn’t one of them but the confusing part is that he shot security officers and that is making me want to rule out the possibility of him being a security official himself. There’s a higher possibility of him just being from another Hoodlum who had worked with the Inspector General and Vice President before and had fallen out with them, it is possible he helped you just to get back at them.’
There was silence for a minute.
‘But he still being alive could be a disturbance to us, he shot you a tracker and that means he had plans of coming after us or of coming to us. It is also possible we never meet him again, no one knows where we are right now and can’t trace our movements from here except we expose ourself. But do you think he is someone who knew you before that day?’
‘No, I don’t think so. The only person I know who could interfere like that is Don who is late now…’ Cole paused and closed his eyes briefly. ‘And then Stainless, but Stainless works with Rex and he doesn’t look like the guy I saw.’
‘Didn’t you say he had a bandage around his forehead, he might also have had other things on his face.’
‘Is there any possibility of this Stainless wanting to betray Rex?’
‘I’m not sure but Tomi mentioned that he was gathering a new set of guys recently and I believe he is trying to revive his own gang.
‘Tomi,’ Tarasha mentioned thoughtfully, stressing each syllable of the name. ‘Is Tomi good enough to be sent?’
‘With close monitoring, I think we could send her.’
‘Okay, I’ll decide on what to do.’ she said and remained silent for some seconds. ‘Don’t ask or tell her anything until I return from Lagos.’
‘Sure boss, I won’t.
Chapter 10 part 4&5
‘I wish I could just go with a communication device of any kind,’ Lizzy spoke aloud, seated some distance behind Dave who was working on a computer system.
‘The only thing you can go with is a recorder, so that I can hear your conversation but there’s no way you’ll be able to hear me talk to you without him knowing. Even if there was a transparent coloured earpiece, he would still know from your movements.’ Dave replied.
‘What exact information do you think I can get from him?’
‘I think you should just get to know yourselves for now, it’ll be difficult to get anything from him today.’
‘I know but you should also remember that we’ve not got all the time.’
‘Well, what I really need to know from him is who his boss really is, her mission and her sponsor.’
‘We can never get those information from him, he’s never going to tell us.’
‘Yes, but he’s still our key to her.’
‘How do we use the key then?’
‘First,’ he paused to check the time on his wristwatch. ‘It’s 5:48pm already, he would be calling you very soon. From that, we can get where he comes from – their base.’
‘Getting his base is just a step out of several steps.’
‘Yes, I know.’ he said and got up from his seat. He turned towards her and squatted right in front of her, placing both hands on the armrests. ‘Lizzy, the rest lies in your hands. How can you make him fall completely for you and trust you?’
She stared at him speechlessly for a while. ‘Why do we need him to fall for me?’ she asked with a slight frown.
‘If that happens, he’s going to get comfortable with you and eventually careless, then we can extract a lot of information from him. Information on how to get into their base successfully when we finally need to.’
‘But I don’t want to dip my hands too far in this case, it might disturb my involvement in the cases I’m involved in.’
‘Hmm,’ Dave sighed thoughtfully and rose up. He walked slowly to the window and opened the curtain. ‘I don’t really know how else to do this, the only option I’ve got apart from this is to follow the Chairman’s order.’
‘And are you really considering that?’
‘What other option do I have?’ Dave turned back towards her, his fingers still on the burglary proof metals.
There was silence for some seconds.
‘You have a lady in your team, don’t you?’
‘Yes,’ he chuckled briefly and shifted his stare to the ground. ‘But she’s on the chairman’s side already, anyone who isn’t either loses his job or gets demoted.’
‘But you can’t just get demoted or fired without a reasonable cause,’ she stared at him with her eyebrows gathered together.
‘It’s starts with taking the case off your hands first, then they’ll find a cause to fire or demote you. You know how easy it is to be set up at the NIS especially those of us that has worked and works as Undercovers.’
‘But you can’t just give in yet, this case is top notch and solving it will not just make news in Nigeria, it will be worthy of news all over the world.’
‘It’s not even about making news, I believe that solving this case will reveal a lot of secrets that could alter the destiny of the country for good. But what other option do I have when the ones who sent me are willing to pay me to be dishonest in the job they gave me?’ he asked, now staring at her face. ‘I’ve got no one on my team who thinks like I do.’
‘Alright,’ Lizzy took in a breath and rose to her feet. ‘Let’s see how far I can go, I’m not sure I can go too far.’
Dave raised his eyebrow, ‘I don’t think you have to go too far but I think your little input will make a huge difference. So do you agree to continue with me?’
‘Ermm… Let me say I’ll continue until there’s need for me to pull out,’ she replied.
‘Oh! Thanks,’ he said with a brief smile. He began to walk towards her with his hands stretched out for an handshake. He would have given her a hug but the atmosphere felt too ‘official’ for that.
‘Hold on,’ she said with a hand up and palm faced towards him. He halted. ‘You said you wanted him to fall completely for me but we started on wrong note already, it might be difficult to get him to like me at all.’
‘It’s your job, I believe you can do it.’ Dave said and slowly put his hands in his pockets. ‘But what makes you think it’ll be difficult for him to like you, if he doesn’t like you yet, why then has he asked you out?’
‘I displayed my body to him and that’s what he wants, he wants to sleep with me.’ she said with a sorry look on her face.
Dave folded his arms. ‘I don’t know why I believe otherwise, he’s a crook that shouldn’t have time for girls, if he wanted to get down with you, he would have just offered you money and told you the hotel he wants you to meet him.’
‘That’s not too late, he could still do it.’
‘I don’t think he…’ the ringtone of a phone cut Dave short. Both of them looked at each other’s face for a second and then at the table where the phone was ringing the next second. ‘Don’t answer it yet,’ Dave said as he rushed back to the computer system.
Lizzy walked to the table and picked up the phone, the number displayed had no name attached but there was only one person she had given the number of the sim in the phone. While the phone was still ringing, she swiped down the notification bar to check if the data connection was on, wondering why the Reveal Caller application was not displaying the registered name of the caller.
‘There’s no caller name displayed,’ she said aloud after confirming that it was connected a source of data. The phone stopped ringing.
‘Is the data connection of that phone on?’ Dave paused briefly to ask.
‘It’s connected to your hotspot.’
The phone began to ring again. Dave typed in some more commands with the keyboard and ended with the enter key. ‘You can answer it now.’
Lizzy took two back steps before answering the call. ‘Hello.’
‘Hi Patricia, Good evening.’
‘Good… evening,’ she replied, making hesitation sound in her voice. ‘Who’s on the line please?’
‘It’s Victor,’ the voice replied. ‘I received the foodstuffs supply on behalf of Alexander Kimberly today.’
‘Oh! Victor,’ she sounded surprised.
‘I promised to take you out tonight, remember?’
‘Oh yes, but… I’m kind of busy right now,’ she replied, making it sound as if she had forgotten about the outing before.
‘Come on, what are you doing? It’s just past six now, it would be okay if you can round up in few minutes time.’
‘No, it might take a little bit longer. I’m actually cooking.’
‘But I promised to take you out for dinner already,’ the voice sounded disappointed. ‘Or do you want me to join you for dinner at your place?’
‘Oh no, my parents would not like that.’
‘I see… So how do we do it?’
‘Maybe I should call you when I’m ready,’ she suggested.
‘Okay, that would be nice. I’ll be waiting for your call,’ he said.
‘Okay.’ she replied and the call ended.
She met a frown on Dave’s face as she got to his table. He had his back rested and his hands folded with this eyes staring up.
‘Top security in their building,’ he said and sat up on noticing her by his side.
‘You could not determine the location?’
‘Yes, I couldn’t. The building is protected, the map is displaying a location not in the country or even Africa.’ he stopped and tapped the keyboard to confirm the location displayed. ‘It’s Russia.’
‘Russia? How possible is that?’
‘It’s not possible that he’s speaking to you from Russia but it could mean that the configuration they use for the ultimate server in the building was set up in Russia.’
‘That’s crazy, we have to take another step then.’ she said and pulled a seat to sit beside him.
‘I think you should get dressed now,’ he said. ‘Put on something sexy to keep him asking for more,’ he added with a smile.
‘Asking for more what?’ She bit her lips. ‘I thought you wanted him to fall for me now.’
‘Yes, Ermm…’ he scratched his head. ‘I thought dressing in a sexy way will help you achieve that.’
‘That’s not important at all, it’ll only make him want to take me to bed the more. And the special thing about this is that he’s a well trained assasin, I don’t think we can hold him down, send him crazy or get him addicted to me with good sex.’
‘I can assure you that most male assassins love to sleep with women a lot and some of them can’t go a day without it.’
‘But do you know that as crazy as they are for se*x, some shoot dead the ladies they sleep with immediately after everything and go for another girl the next day?’ she asked and Dave couldn’t give an answer. ‘The thing is that they love se*x but never get attached to the girls. They only see them as tools and nothing more.’
‘Well, I don’t have anything to say about this anymore. It’s your specialization, you how you do it and I trust you to handle it well,’ he shrugged.
‘Since you’ll be watching and listening, you have to read us in between the lines. I’ll call this a well calculated risk, he could try to kill me if he notices anything.’
‘Okay, just do your job.’ Dave said and got up. ‘When you’re ready to go, I need you to tell me. You’ll call him twice, one to inform him that you’re ready and then will we’ll give him a space of some minutes to get out of the building he is in and then you call him again. The whole street or area can’t be protected even if the building is protected.’
‘Rex, are you so sure about this?’ the Vice President asked with a tone of doubt. The Inspector General was seated at the same end with him and they were all in a secret room at the Inspector General’s quarters.
‘Yes, I am. You already made the decision with the board, do you want to reverse it?’ Rex asked, looking straight at the Inspector General.
‘It could still be reversed if it will not fetch any good thing. I can’t seem to forget what happened a month ago.’ Chief Rikau replied.
‘You got shot and almost killed because of your carelessness, both of you.’ Rex replied, taking glances at the both men.
‘I don’t want to talk about that anymore,’ the Vice President raised his hand in anger. ‘That’s gone and should be forgotten,’ he added, turning to the Inspector General. ‘Now we should focus on the next plan. Rex gave the idea and we’ve started the implementation already, we announced it last week and everybody including them should have heard by now. If Rex thinks it would work, I believe it would.’
‘Yea, it’s the only way I know we could trap her now.’ Rex joined in.
‘That girl and her team are intelligent, don’t you think they’ll detect any foul?’ Chief Rikau questioned Rex.
Rex let out a brief chuckle which sounded devilish. He placed his gaze on Chief Rikau for almost a minute, thinking about the man’s words. It was the most meaningful question the man had ever asked since he began to work with them and Rex wondered if the wounds he got had made him more intelligent.
‘I thought about that already,’ Rex finally replied. ‘But it’s not a direct trap for her, someone has to fall first before pulling her in.’
‘I don’t understand,’ Chief Rikau frowned.
‘You don’t really need to understand…’
‘I need to understand,’ Chief Rikau cut in. ‘I’m the one to explain to the world if anything goes wrong.’
Rex was silent for a moment. ‘In Nigeria, isn’t there a law against detention of people for so long?’
‘No one has been detained here, only her movements were restrained.’ the man argued.
‘What’s the difference in this context? Since the movements have been retained, have you made any reasonable headway in the case?’
The Inspector General remained silent.
‘Let me handle this and Samantha Osman would walk right into our hands.’
‘When are you returning when you leave tomorrow?’ Henry asked Tarasha who was sitting in the living room and listening to the network news at six. He dropped the tablet device in his hands on the three seater before sitting beside it.
‘I’m not planning to stay there more than twenty four hours,’ she replied, taking a look at him as he sat on the chair. She noticed he just had a change in hairstyle and had shaven his beards.
‘So that means you’ll be back by next tomorrow?’
‘Yes, I should.’
‘Alright, I guess I should just leave this till tou return.’
‘What’s it? Why don’t you say it now?’
‘It’s nothing big, I told you sometime ago that I needed to find a way to see my parents and calm them.’
‘So have you found the way?’
‘Well, I’m just going to visit them and explain things to them.’
‘I hope you know you have to go there disguised.’
‘Yes, I do.’
‘When are you planning to go?’
‘I thought of planning that with Cole, I was going to discuss it with him tonight.’
‘Cole’s out already and won’t be back until midnight.’
‘You sent him.’
‘No, he went to the club.’
‘Oh well, I’ll discuss it with him tomorrow then and we’ll get back to you but I believe it’ll be this week?’
‘Huh? You’re going to see your parents this week?’
‘Then it has to be your Dad alone.’
‘No the both of them, in fact my mum is the one I need to see.’
‘How are you going to do that?’
‘I found out she’s going home this week.’
‘Then you can’t see her this week except you do it on her journey home.’
‘I don’t understand you.’
‘Don’t you think the officers would be expecting your visit?’
‘They’ll expect that you visit her if you’re still around and would stick around to wait for you.’
‘Choose another day, you could get into trouble if you make it next week.’
Cole drove down the road silently, glancing at his phone from time to time and wondering if he was going to ever receive the call from Patricia. He couldn’t go back home as he already requested permission to club all night. The previous plan he made was to take Patricia for dinner at a restaurant and then talk her into spending the night in an hotel with him but speaking with her minutes ago had changed his plan totally. He had learnt that she was still living with her parents and was sure it’ll be quite difficult to convince her to spend the night with him, and she also sounded over the phone like someone who wasn’t used to night outings and that got him surprise because the impression she had given him about herself with all her seductive moves was that she was no different from a runs girl. He decided that if he got no call from her, he was going to eat somewhere and then spend the rest of the evening at a club and his night in an hotel with a prostitute.
The call he had been hoping for finally came in, earlier than he thought it would. He quickly searched for a space by the road side and pulled over. By the time he held the phone, it had stopped ringing, he dialed back her number.
‘Hey Patricia,’ he said into the phone.
‘Hi, should I meet you around that car park now?’
‘Yes, you can. And you can also tell me your address so that I can come there for you.’
‘Oh! Don’t bother about that, I’ll just meet you at the park.’ she said.
‘Okay, no problem.’ he said and the call ended. He put the phone back beside him and took in a deep breath, he wondered if he was really going through the stress of taking her out just for se*x or if he was beginning to like her. He didn’t know what it was. Earlier that day, he was irritated by her moves and just wanted to teach her a good lesson by having a violent sex session with her but now it was all different, he craved more than the sex, he craved her presence and attention. If it was only sex, he could choose to go to a brothel where he would have several options of girls with different assets and some more even endowed than she was. He realized that he was attracted to her in the first place because of her sexiness but now, something different was attracting him and whatever it was, he was determined to find out.
He took a quick glance at his wristwatch to check the time, it was ten minutes to seven. Then he looked at the side mirror before turning on the trafficator to signal to coming cars his plan to move into the road.
Not too long after he got on the road, his phone began to ring again. He glanced at the screen and it was her number calling again. He looked around the road to see if there were any traffic officials on the road who would stop him for disobeying by answering a call while driving. He found none but still decided to stop somewhere before answering the call.
‘What’s up Patricia?’ he said into the phone.
‘I just wanted to find out if you are close by already, I don’t want to stay waiting for long.’ she replied.
‘I’ll get there in eight minutes time,’ Cole answered.
‘The guy already left the house before you called the first time,’ Dave said to Lizzy who just ended the call with Victor. He was still dressed the same way he was buy Lizzy had freshened up and worn a new dress – a slim fitted gown which stopped just on her knees but was split on the right side, revealing her right knee up to the thigh. She also arranged her hair in a new fashion and was still busy with her makeup tools.
‘So what we got is the wrong location?’ she asked.
‘Yes, we heard sounds of cars on both occasions. I think he left home when he called the first time.’ Dave said with a tired look.
‘We didn’t think about that,’ she said with a light smile. ‘You can’t predict criminals sometimes, especially those that work with top level intelligent organizations such as this.’
Cole felt the cold wind blow on his body as he rested his bum against the boot of the car. He looked up quickly as he felt something cold touch his hand – a drop of rain, there were no signs of rain in the clouds. He closed his eyes and took in a breath of the cold air rushing against his skin.
‘Hi,’ a voice sounded right in front of him and he opened his eyes quickly. And there was the most beautiful person he had ever seen standing at his front, even the darkness of the night couldn’t hide her beauty. The reflection of light from the car wash and other buildings some distance away helped to reveal her perfect figure and the shadow formed beside her revealed the same beautiful shape and elegance.
His heart throbbed for joy as his eyes scanned her body from head to toe. Everything about her was mind blowing and even the smile on her face was angelic. He stretched out his hand towards to receive her. His eyes scanning her body again as she walked elegantly towards him.
He imagined how it would feel like touching the sexy thigh he could see through the split skirt and how it would be when his hands moved from her thighs to the middle region and his fingers touched the strings around her waists.
He quickly shook off his lustful thoughts with a smile as her fingers touched his, he moved her hand gently to his lips and placed a light kiss on the back of her palm.
‘I’ve never seen one as beautiful as you are,’ he confessed, pulling her into a warn embrace. He didn’t feel like letting her go, he wished to remain under her influence with the scent of her perfume fighting air for space in his nostrils and her b—–s touching his chest with her chin on his shoulders.
‘Here,’ Patricia handed over the item list back to the waiter who stood by their table to take their order. ‘You can ask him what he wants,’ she said to him.
‘Just give me the same thing she ordered for,’ Victor said to the waiter with a smile, refusing to collect the paper the waiter was handing to him. The man bowed slightly and walked away, leaving the two to themselves for a brief moment.
The restaurant was one of the bests and most expensive in town. It was known for its provision of a wide variety of food and drinks, both Nigerian and popular foreign dishes. And that was the reason it received high patronage from visitors in the country as could be seen at that moment. The environment was quiet and serene. The workers were always well dressed and attentive and they answered the customer’s queries and requests always very quickly.
Victor kept his gaze on the Patricia’s face without saying any wordsand both looked into each other’s eyeballs like kids who were amazed at the inverted image of themselves formed on the retina.
‘Is this how you’ll stare at me all day?’ Patricia asked with a chuckle.
‘I’m just amazed,’ Victor said, releasing a breath.
‘Amazed at what?’ she questioned.
‘Amazed at your beauty, never seen one like this.’ Cole said and licked his lips as he adjusted his seating position and placed his right elbow on the table.
She smiled at his comment and made a shy face as she relaxed her back, also examining his face. ‘You could flatter a dead body till it blushes.’
‘No, I’m saying the truth.’
She wondered why he sounded like a gentleman instead of the rough assasin she expected him to be. Ever since he had picked her that evening, all his actions have been contrary to what she expected and she found it hard to believe that everything was going so smooth. For her, it only meant two things; either that Victor was falling for her easily like Dave had predicted or that he already suspected her and was playing along to get her trapped. If the former was true, then it meant that the fall of Samantha Osman was really close but if it was the latter, then she needed to pull out totally or apply extra care or her life could go with it. However, one thing that gave her more confidence was that Dave was close and was listening to their conversation.
‘Here,’ the waiter spoke out to their hearing, announcing his arrival with the tray containing their order, a waitress was standing behind him with another tray containing the exactly the same substances in the first.
‘Wow!’ Victor exclaimed with his mouth widely opened as he saw the food being served on the table. He looked at Patricia’s face in surprise, ‘You requested for Amala and reedy?’
‘Yes, what’s making you so surprised. This is what I was making at home before you called.’ she replied, already beginning to unwrap the food.
‘What the h***!’ he said, still in surprise as his was being served. He began to imagine her in the kitchen preparing the Amala like she claimed and he presumed that she must be a good cook. Thoughts of settling down in the future after saving a lot of money began to drift into his mind, he wondered if it would ever be possible to settle down and if he would find someone as beautiful as Patricia who could also cook well. He began to calculate in his mind how much he had in his Bank accounts. He was a millionaire already as he had been able to save a lot since he began working for Tarasha and also had less time to squander the monies on drugs and women like he used to do when he was with Don Dan. However, squandering the money or getting it out of the Bank account then was important so as not to draw attention of the authorities if he had so much in them, but working with Tarasha, he had learnt and was able to keep the monies in foreign accounts with a different identity. He remembered Benny as he thought of his previous lifestyle of squandering monies on girls and partying again, Benny was his partner in the act. Benny was now no more, same as Aisha. An assassins life could never be predicted, it could end at any time, so saving money for the future shouldn’t even be part of his focus because he wasn’t sure he would have that future. It was important that he enjoyed his life to the fullest; party as much as possible, drink as much as possible, sleep with girls as many as possible and also buy all expensive things he could find.
‘Hey Victor,’ Patricia was waving her left hand at his face as he looked lost in thoughts. She was already eating her meal while he just stared absentmindedly.
‘Hey!’ he forced on a smile, coming back to himself.
‘What are you thinking about?’ she asked after swallowing the food in her mouth.
‘Was I thinking?’
‘Yes, you were thinking. You were far away from here.’
‘Hehe, it happens sometimes,’ he said, now unwrapping his own food. ‘I was thinking about my friend who used to love eating Amala,’ he quickly added to stop her from asking more questions. ‘Died few months ago.’
‘Oh! Sorry about that. He must have been so close to you, ‘ she sympathized.
‘Yes, she taught me how to eat Amala.’ he added, now thinking about Aisha who really Mac’s made the first Amala and served him with the soup he enjoyed.
‘She?’ Patricia seemed more interested about the friend now. ‘She must have been so important to you.’
‘Yea, kind of.’ Victor replied.
‘Can I know more about her?’
‘We have to finish eating first,’ Victor reminded her of the food, taking a mold in his hand.
‘Yea, sorry for my bad manners.’ she apologized in low tones and continued to eat.
It took them some minutes to finish eating and the plates were taken away by the attendants.
‘So, when did you start working with EasyShoppers?’ Victor began the conversation.
‘Just this year,’ she replied without much enthusiasm in her voice. She bit her lips slightly, thinking on how do change the subject of the conversation. She couldn’t allow him continue asking her questions about EasyShoppers because she didn’t have many answers available and wouldn’t like to say something contrary to what he already knew about them.
‘So, you’re new there. EasyShoppers is really a…’
‘Shh…’ she hushed him playfully, putting a finger on her lips. ‘I don’t entertain people when I’m invited on a date.’
He raised his brows. ‘I don’t understand,’ he shook his head gently. The waiter arrived at that moment and dropped on the table, two packs of juice and two cups.
Patricia took time to open the juice before talking again, also using the opportunity to think on what else to say. ‘I mean I don’t do the talking, you do the talking and answering while I ask the questions,’ she said, raising her eyebrows and shaking her lips in a playful way.
He chuckled and rested his back. ‘Okay then, let’s have you ask the questions.’
‘You know where I work already, what about you, what do you do?’
‘I’m a businessman, I deal with electronics majorly.’
‘You have a company that manufactures electronics?’
‘No,’ he smiled. ‘I help companies in importing and exporting.’
‘Importing? Do we still import electronics in Nigeria?’
‘Yes, we still import some rare parts though eighty percent of electronics used in Nigeria today are locally made. So I do more of exporting and very little importing.’
‘Okay, what’s the name of your organization?’
‘For now, I run my company as a division under AA Ltd.’
‘AA? I think I’ve heard something like that before.’
‘You should have, I’ll be surprised if you’ve not.’
‘Well, I don’t really remember certainly.’ she said, staring up like she was trying hard to recall. ‘What’s the full for AA?’
‘Oh! Alexander Amaechi,’ she repeated under her breath and then stared thinly at his face. She leaned forward on table, ‘I’ve been wanting to ask, how do you relate with Alexander Kimberly, the lady whom you come to get the supply for? Isn’t she Alexander Amaechi’s daughter?’
Victor replied with a forced smile. He appeared a bit unsettled but did his best to hide it. He never expected the question but he had to come up with an answer.
Dave had his earpiece in his ears as he walked around the car in the security guard’s uniform. He peeped through the window glasses to see if there was any weapon in it but he couldn’t find any. He turned to the driver’s side and examined the lock of the door for a moment and then took out a flat long metal from the bag which hung from his shoulders down. He thought for a moment about forcing the door open but realized that it would only make things harder for he and Lizzy, there was no way the owner of the car wouldn’t know that the car had been tampered with. He returned the metal into his bag and took out a tracker as he walked to the back of the car, he attached the tracker under the boot closed to the left hand side tyre. He dusted his palms as he got up and looked around briefly to see if anyone was looking his way.
‘Alexander Kimberly is Mr AA’s daughter and she’s my sister, my senior.’ Victor finally found an answer to her question.
‘Oh! That means you’re also an Alexander and is that why you can work under the division of the AA Ltd?’
‘I’m not an Alexander, I’m a nephew to Kimberly, I have a different surname.’
‘And what’s yours?’
‘So you’re Victor Amos.’
‘Kimberly Alexander, what’s she like?’
‘Well, can we limit our conversation to myself and you for now. You’ll get to know about the others later.’ Victor said in a dismissive tone. He looked pretty uncomfortable about the conversation.
‘I’m sorry, it looks as if you don’t really like to talk about your family.’ she apologized and drew back from the table. She poured some juice into the cup on the table.
‘Not really but I won’t like to talk about them now.’
‘It’s okay, let’s just discuss something else.’ she said and took a sip from her cup. ‘By the way, what’s the time now?’
Victor turned his wrist to check the wristwatch. ‘It’s past nine already, eleven minutes.’
‘Wow! I have to leave for home by nine thirty.’
‘Oh! Barely twenty minutes more.’ he sounded disappointed. ‘I thought we were going to spend more time together tonight.’
‘I wish we could too but it’s already late.’
‘Well, no problem. But permit me to ask, do you club or go to late night parties?”
‘Yes, I used to, when I was in school and when I was staying with my friends.’
‘Okay, I guess you don’t anymore because you now stay with your parents.’
‘Kind of, but I can still go out if I have it well planned. I had to move in with them when I got the job here in Abuja with EasyShoppers.’
‘Okay, where were you working before?’
‘Never worked since I left school.’
‘What did you study in school?’
‘The University of Ilorin.’
‘Nice, what year did you graduate?’
‘2029 and I served in 2030.’
‘So you barely stayed one year without a job?’
‘Well, that’s right but I don’t consider what I do in the EasyShoppers now a job. It’s what I do just to stay busy and help my family.’
‘Hmm… Tell me briefly what your family is like,’ Victor relaxed his back, sounding more interested about her private life.
‘Well, I also think we should just only discuss about the both of us for now.’ She replied, paying him back for also refusing to talk about his family and also using the medium to escape forming lies.
”Not bad,’ Victor leaned forward to pour his drink. ‘He rushed it down his throat and dropped the cup noisily on the table which made her stare at him in surprise. ‘I must confess,’ he began with a chuckle. ‘I’m not used to this fruit drink stuff, so it tasted strange now that I drank it.’
‘Oh!’ she giggled. ‘Why didn’t you order for what you are used to then?’
He shook his head and forced a smile.
‘What are you used to? Beer?’ she asked with a smile.
‘Not really, I take non-alcoholic wines too. But this particular fruit,’ he stopped to check the fruit pack. ‘Pineapple is not really my thing’.He leaned forward again and stared at her face as she took another sip of wine. Her eyes met his as she put the cup on the table. She leaned forward and stared back at him, both looking into each other’s eyes and smiling and waiting for the first person to get tired of staring.
‘And why are you staring at me like that?’ Patricia widened her eyes as she giggled.
‘I just can’t seem to get enough of your beauty,’ Victor blinked and chuckled. He checked his wristwatch again, ‘Well, I think we can start leaving now, it’s almost nine thirty.’
She sighed and reached for her bag.
‘But we’re not leaving until we pick another date to see.’
‘Ermm… I work from Mondays to Fridays, and sometimes I get called to come on Saturdays and Sundays.’
‘So you’re busy everyday?’
‘No, I can choose not to go on Saturdays and Sundays.’
‘I don’t really think I can wait till Saturday to see you again, what time do you close from work on weekdays?’
‘I close from work by five pm except for Fridays which is by three o’clock.’
‘Ermm… I don’t know if we could go out during the week again.’
‘You don’t know?’ she asked him in a tone depicting that she believed he wasn’t serious about taking her out again. ‘You can give me a call when you know.’ she said and picked her bag to get up.
‘Hey! Calm down.’
5 minutes later
He opened the door and bowed slightly as she stepped into the car majestically. Then he closed it back and turned to the driver’s side. As he stepped into the car, he began to wonder where he learnt all the gentlemanly actions he had been performing that night. For example, he never remembered ever opening the car door for any lady in his life. The last time he made romantic gestures like he was making now was in his first year in school and he didn’t have a car then. Since he began to work with Don and specialized in criminal activities, the only place he had taken girls to were hotels and nothing romantic ever happened apart from what they did on the bed.
‘So, where is your place?’ He asked as he fastened his seatbelt.
‘I stay in Major estate, wouldn’t that be too far for you to drive to this night?’ she replied.
‘Too far?’ he laughed and pushed the start button of the car. ‘Major estate isn’t far.’
‘It’ll take us about forty five minutes to get there, are you sure I won’t be inconveniencing you now that you have to drive me there first and then drive back home.’
‘How do you want to leave if I don’t drive you home?’ he asked as he began driving.
‘I’ll get a cab to take me home.’
‘I’ll never forgive myself if I allowed you to do that.’
She smiled. ‘Nice of you, I must say.’
He smiled back without uttering any word.
‘So where do you stay?’
‘I’ve been expecting that question,’ he smiled again. ‘I live somewhere around Gwagalada.’
‘Huh?’ she turned and stared at him with her eyes and mouth widely opened in surprise. ‘Does your sister stay there too? I mean Ma’am Kimberly.’
‘No, she stays around here.’
‘And is it your supply you come to get monthly or for her?’
‘For us,’ he replied, pouting his lips. ‘For sometime now, I’ve had to stay in her apartment because I have work to do around here.’
‘Okay, so she asks you to come and get them?’
‘No, I offer to do so.’
‘But why don’t you guys allow us deliver it to the house directly? I was wondering why I had to come and meet you at the park again today.’
‘Kimberly has more than one apartments around and I think the place she’s staying now isn’t the address she registered with your office. The park we meet is very close to the registered address.’
‘Oh! But that’s easy, it won’t take five minutes to change the address of the delivery on her request.’
‘Hmm… Maybe she doesn’t know about that, but I’ll tell her.’
‘Good and what job does…’ she stopped, remembering that he wasn’t ready to talk much about her.
They continued discussing on random things until they got into the road leading to Major Estate.
‘So where exactly do you stay? So I can drop you at the entrance or somewhere close by, ‘ Victor asked.
‘You can just drop me at the gate, I stay at the second building by the left, so I can just walk in.’
‘Is there any reason I shouldn’t take you in?’
‘The gate closes by 10pm.’
‘Oh! This is seventeen minutes past ten already.’ he said after taking a glance at his wristwatch.
‘Yea but I know the security guys. I’ll talk to them.’
‘Then I won’t leave until they allow you in first.’
A security man appeared at the gate as their car approached. He drove closer and stopped right in front of the gate.
‘So, I’ll see you on Wednesday right.’ he turned to her and took in a deep breath, wishing she wouldn’t leave his sight.
‘Yes,’ she replied him, taking off her seatbelt. ‘Have a goodnight test,’ she said with a smile and opened the door. She picked her bag from the backseat and was about to step out when he grabbed her by the arm. She turned and stared at him looking surprised, he stared back at her without saying anything. ‘I have to go now, I may have issues with the security men if I keep them waiting at the gate.’ she looked towards the man at the gate to draw Victor’s attention there.
‘Okay, I was just wondering if I could really survive the next two days without you.’ he said as he released her arm slowly.
She turned back to him and dropped her bag on her laps. She then leaned towards him and pulled his head close to hers suddenly, placing her lips on his. Victor didn’t expect it but it was what he wanted, he drew her closer with his hand at her back and engaged her lips and tongue with his.
She broke away in less than one minute. ‘I have to go now,’ she said and turned away from him. She picked her bag and stepped out hurriedly. She pulled down her skirt which had rolled up before closing the door.
He watched as she proceeded to the gate and whispered something to the man at the back of the tall gate. The man opened the narrow way for her and she walked in. He could see her squeeze some naira notes into his hands from her bag before she was allowed to walk away. He watched as she walked on until she disappeared behind the first building which covered the view of the rest of the curved road. The security man behind the gate was still watching him until he reversed and drove away, taking the opposite direction to where he came from.
Dave whose car was parked several distance away from them also started the engine again. He waited for Cole’s car to drive farther before following, he had a tracker on it, so he didn’t need to follow closely not to miss it.
Chapter 10 part 6
‘Awww,’ Dave yawned and stretched noisily. He looked around where he laid and realized he was on the car seat. The darkness in the sky was fading off gradually and the workers in the clubhouse were already cleaning the surroundings. He quickly sat up and looked out through the window, his target’s car was nowhere to be found. He took a glance at his wristwatch, it was fourteen minutes to seven. He adjusted the car seat in a hurry and turned on the engine of the car. He rubbed his eyes with his palms before putting on the seatbelt. Then he picked his tablet device and turned it on.
He had followed Cole all the way from the estate to the clubhouse where Cole had decided to spend the night. After several hours of watching Cole drink, dance with and rock different girls, he decided to wait in his car until Cole was done and that was how he slept off. He got into his car around 3.30am and he woke up before seven.
The app opened on his phone displayed the new location of the car and Dave drove out of the beer house as fast as he could. He needed to get to the new location quickly, so that he could also go home and prepare to go to the office. It was a Monday morning and he was supposed to resume by 8am.
It took him more than twenty minutes to get to the new location of the car and he was disappointed to find out that the car was only rented out to Cole for the night and it had been returned that morning. He took a look at the location again and realized it was the same address he got when he tried to track him through the phone call the day before. He turned back, feeling disappointed but still with the hope that there was another opportunity for him on the coming Wednesday.
‘Take care while I’m away,’ Tarasha said to Cole as he handed over the small briefcase to her. She was dressed corporately, in a black trousers suit, white inner shirt and a navy blue tie, with her face otally disguised, she looked like a black American who was on her way for a business meeting.
‘Alright boss,’ he replied. She gave him a pat on the shoulder before turning away.
He stood and watched until she went past the security clearance gates. He yawned as he turned and proceeded out of the terminal, playing with the car keys in his hand.
As he drove back to the base, he kept thinking of Patricia and their meeting the last night. He had spent his mouth with two girls he met at the club the last night but still couldn’t get Patricia off his mind while he was with them. He couldn’t take her off his mind for a second and even woke up from the one hour rest he had at home with her name on his lips. Now, he was thinking about her again and wishing that he could be with her all day. It began to trouble him, why she occupied his thoughts so much even when he had other things to worry about was becoming an headache to him.
‘Good morning ma’am,’ Lizzy looked up as she heard Dave’s voice. He had just entered into the office and was proceeding towards her and greeting the other occupants of the office. ‘Good morning Lizzy,’ Dave greeted as he sat on the seat behind her table.
‘Good morning Dave,’ she replied and continued to type using her computer keyboard like she was doing before he entered.
‘Hope you slept well?’ Dave asked.
‘Yea, how did it go last night? Did you sleep well too?’ she said, rushing up her typing so she could talk to him.
‘No, I didn’t sleep well at all.’ he replied.
‘Huh?’ she stopped typing to look at his face.
‘Yea, the guy Victor spent the night at the club yesterday and I had to stay with him there.’ Dave replied in low tones, being conscious of the other people in the office and not wanting them to overhear their conversation.
‘But then, were you able to trace him home?’ she also asked in a low voice.
‘No,’ Dave shook his head and smiled in self-pity. ‘That’s the sad story there. I slept off in the car while waiting for him and I didn’t know when he left the place.’
‘You didn’t put a tracker on his car?’
‘I did but the car wasn’t his, he lent it just for the night. I traced it to the rental service he got it from.’
‘Not too good,’ Lizzy shook her head and folded her lips in. ‘But he asked for us to meet again on Wednesday.’
‘Yes, I heard you guys agree.’ Dave replied. He stretched his hand over the table and reached for Lizzy’s palm. ‘Thanks so much, you did a great job yesterday.’
‘You’re welcome,’ she chuckled, squeezing his palm back in response to his. ‘But I think that guy is a dummy,’ she said after releasing his hands. The look on her face showed that she felt disgusted by Cole’s easiness with her.
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‘Why do you say he’s a dummy?’ Dave made a serious face. ‘Do you think it’s easy for a guy to resist someone like you? Especially when you make use of your special skills in making them fall.’
Lizzy shook her head, still looking disgusted. ‘He’s an assasin, I thought he would be more hardened and careful.’
‘And who says he’s not hardened or he’s careless? See for example, why did he have to rent a car? Why didn’t he pick of the several cars?’
The look on her face changed from a look of disgust to one of uncertainty. ‘If he’s not soft like I think then he must be playing a trick on us, I was thinking at a point that he suspects me already.’
‘I don’t think so, Lizzy.’ Dave said with much confidence in his tone. ‘I strongly believe the guy is falling for you… Rather he has fallen for you.’
‘Why are you so sure?’ she asked and leaned forward. She took a quick look around, none of her office mates were looking at them. The NIS members of staff were highly disciplined and rarely poked their noses into other agent’s business but she still wanted to make sure none of them knew she was working with Dave on the case.
‘I’m just so sure that no man can resist you.’
‘Come on, stop saying that. I work with several other men who do not even take more than a glance at me.’
‘Maybe because they didn’t have a very good glimpse of you the first time,’ Dave replied, adding a brief smile.
‘Let’s just talk about the way forward,’ Lizzy said, trying to shift the focus of the discussion from her. ‘We can’t make plans here, when then should we…’
‘Hey!’ Dave interrupted. ‘I’m saying the truth about men not being able to resist you. Even I myself find it very difficult. I would have made a move if it isn’t against our job ethics.’
She folded her arms and rested her back against the backrest of the swivel, looking at Dave like he we saying rubbish and she was waiting for him to finish and come back to his senses.
‘It’s true Liz, I didn’t feel too good seeing you with him last night’ Dave said and kept staring back at her quietly. He had wanted to say he didn’t feel good seeing them kiss, but decided not to mention the details in order not to surprise her further.
‘Dave, when and where do we meet to plan our next move?’ she asked, disregarding all his comments about her. Dave always joked and flirted with her which was against the ethics but which most of the staff members were guilty of and she was sure that this was just one of those moments he decided to flirt.
‘You don’t have much to do in the office today and the subject of your present case is presently not in town, am I correct?’
‘Yes, you are. I should be leaving in a couple of minutes.’
‘Okay, can I pick you up by noon? I still need to do somethings in the office.’
‘Alright, thanks.’ Dave said and got up to leave.
She watched as he walked out of the office and disappeared through the corridor. Not that she had never felt a thing for Dave, she had but she knew there was no point in letting it materialize. Dave, although was the definition of her kind of man, she still believed she could find other men better than he was. She also believed that Dave, like every other NIS agents who knew her work in the Agency and how she goes under different kinds of men to get things done would never be interested in her or other female NIS agent doing the same work for her team.
‘I’m driving towards your gate now Chief, tell your men to open the gate at the sound of the horn.’ Tarasha said aloud. Her phone was on her lap and the call was placed on loudspeaker. She was driving a Zenvo ST9, a short gun was sitting on the passengers’ seat beside her.
‘Okay, Tarasha.’ The Chief replied and the line went off.
She picked the gun by her side and fixed it into the side of her trousers as she got closer to the gate. A horn at the gate got it opened and she drove in without having to wait.
Chief Gab cleaned his eyes to be sure Tarasha was the person walking towards him. He had stayed at the entrance of the house to wait for her after he got her call and had watched her drive in and park. But as she moved closer to him, who he saw was totally different from the Tarasha he knew.
‘Good morning Chief,’ she greeted as she got to his front.
‘Did Tarasha send you?’ the Chief asked, still staring at her face.
‘I’m here myself,’ she said before realizing from the look on his face that he didn’t recognize her. ‘Can we go in first?’
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He nodded and stepped aside for her to enter through the door before following behind. The voice he heard was that of Tarasha’s but the face was different.
‘What room are we using?’ she asked as she got into the main living room.
He took the lead and led her into another sitting room.
‘Tarasha, why do you look so different today? Or are my eyes deceiving me?’ Chief Gab asked without letting them settle in the room first.
Tarasha settled on the three seater sofa and pulled the stool beside it to her front, she placed the brief case on the stool and opened it. She took out a white handkerchief and a transparent bottle filled with a yellowish liquid, she poured some drops of the liquid on the handkerchief and used it to wipe her face.
‘No more unhelpful questions, can we get straight to business?’ she said, still cleaning the different edges on her face.
‘Okay,’ the Chief replied, still a bit jittery but was now sure it was her. He took out a small box hidden behind the one seater opposite her and took it closer to her, less than three metres from her. He dragged the center table to the same place and then placed the box on it. Then he punched in the lock code of the box and it opened. The box was filled to the brim with different kind of things, the combination of things there looked very strange though they were neatly arrange.
‘So what do we start with?’ she asked, moving closer to have a proper view of the contents.
‘Let’s start with the documents, I made photocopies of all you need.’ Chief Gab said as he brought out a file and handed it to her.
She opened it and began to check the papers in it one after the other.
‘These copies are not so clear,’ she said after getting midway.
‘But they are readable, aren’t they?’
‘Yes, they are but where are the original copies? I think I would need clearer copies.’
‘The original document are also here but are faded and dirty,’ he said, searching for something else among the files in the box. He pulled out a very old flat file from beneath and handed it to her. She opened and began to compare with the photocopies. The papers in the old file were also old and had began to decay at the tips.
‘I think the photocopies are clearer ,’ she finally agreed with him. She placed a knee in the ground and placed the two files on the empty side of the table, she began to compare each document to confirm that there had been no alteration in the new copies. It took her a total of four minutes to finish with the confirmation. She returned the old file to the man and rose to her feet. ‘Don’t you think these documents will implicate you too?’
‘I’ve spent years in prison for these crimes already and I’ve also paid with my properties and reputation.’
‘So why didn’t you present these documents a long time ago?’
‘Present them to who?’
‘To the police or whoever was processing the case?’
‘I had to face accusations from several agencies including from the then NDLEA and EFCC but Chief Elvis’ party was in power then and he was connected to so many of those in these agencies, they would have found a way to cover him up because he also keeps a lot of their own secrets.’
‘Well, I think he’s about to face this accusations now.’ Tarasha said as she walked back to the seat and placed the file on her briefcase.
‘Tarasha,’ Chief Gab called in a soft voice.
‘Yea,’ she raised her brow.
‘I want the Vice President dead, not taken to court or accused of these crimes.’
‘You don’t want him dead as much as I do. What if his secrets are exposed and he dies also?’
‘I don’t care if his secrets are exposed, he has enough power to turn things to his favour, all I want is his last breath.’
‘Well, I don’t care to expose his secrets or disgrace him for your sake. He’s going to die but all these evidences will be used to pull him closer to his death.’ She said as she walked back to the box. ‘What else can I get from here?’ she asked, now looking into the box.
‘I’m taking out what I need to take out already,’ he replied her. He took out another file and placed it on the old file which she had returned to him. He handed a neater file from the box. ‘Those are the new copies of the documents here,’ he said placing his finger on the old file he placed on the ground.
‘What are these documents all about?’ she asked as she opened the file and began to go through it.
‘Those ones are just extras you may need, they’re proofs of some monies gotten from the shipping and sales of drugs years ago. They could get me implicated again though.’
‘Then, I probably shouldn’t use them.’ she said, closing back the file to return it.
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‘They also contain agreements with some Doctors, Pharmacists, retired officials of the NDLEA and NAFDAC.’
‘Some Doctors and Pharmacists?’ she asked with her brows raised, holding back the file.
‘Yes, you seem to take special interest in Dr Danjuma and his wife and that’s why I’m giving them to you.’
‘Alright.’ she said and took the file to her briefcase. ‘Tell me, what else do you know about the Danjumas?’
‘The Danjumas? I know nothing else about them except that they are doctors which have special records, Danjuma himself once submitted a research on wildlife and their similarities to humans in response to a particular stimulus while his wife Lydia worked with a team of Pharmacists to manufacture the cure for an epidemic.’
‘You know nothing else?’
‘What happened to their kids after the doctors were killed?’
‘I don’t have an idea. Elvis told me then that the plan was to wipe every one of them out, but I don’t know what they eventually did to them.’
‘Okay.’ Tarasha said and moved her gaze to the box. ‘What other things would be useful for me in there?’
‘You can now go with the whole box, they contain bottles and packs of some of the drugs, Chief Nonso recovered them years ago from Onwuli’s house after his death.’
‘Okay,’ she squatted again to look into the box.
‘Tarasha, why are you so interested in Dr Danjuma’s family?’ Chief Gab asked. The tone he used made it obvious he had kept the question in his mind for a long time.
She looked up at his face in silence for a while and then slowly got up. ‘Their case is one which can incite public sympathy, if it is presented together with these other proofs, we could inspire anger in the hearts of the masses and keep the Vice President under pressure. That could distract him and hasten his death which might not be taken grievous like it should by the public.’
‘That’s true. But there’s really no proof for his hands in the death of the doctors,’ Chief Gab said, looking up thoughtfully. He bent down and began to search through the files and documents he had removed for himself from the box. He took out a torn book whose size was lesser than an A4 sized paper. ‘This book is torn and incomplete, a part of it which isn’t here contains some documentation about Dr Danjuma and Dr Lydia.’
Tarasha collected the book being handed to her and looked keenly at it, it was a part of the book she got from the Senate President’s house; the one she read and she found how her parent’s death were planned.
‘Where can I find the other parts of the book?’ she asked, being sure that there had to be some other parts because the portion in her hand could not complete the one she had with her before. They had about fifty pages difference between them.
‘I think the Vice President has one and then the late Senate President, I’m not really sure of how many parts it was divided into.’
‘But the documents you gave to me, what do they contain?’
‘Those documents only contains the legal agreements and signatures which will prove that certain events occurred. But the events which occured can only be found in the other parts of this book,’ Chief Gab replied, pointing to the book in her hand as he mentioned the last word.
Tarasha stared up thoughtfully for a moment, then she kept her gaze on his face. ‘Were you not a part of the group?’
‘Yes, I was.’
‘So why should I need a book to retell the events when I have a living witness.’
‘Oh,’ Chief Gab let out his deep breath with his shoulders dropping. He didn’t expect that she would turn it around and wasn’t willing to tell her the stories with his mouth. ‘They’re somethings I would never say to you, I’m too ashamed to say them. But I’m sure you can find out so much in the book.’
‘I don’t need you to say much, I only need you to tell me what else I need to know about the Danjumas.’
‘I’ve told you already. There’s nothing else I know about the Danjumas’ private life or our involvement with them but there was a senior Doctor who carried out what we expected from Danjuma.’
Tarasha widened her eyes as she heard his last statement, ‘Is he still alive?’
‘Yes, he is alive.’
There was a sudden note of victory in her mind. If the senior Doctor was alive, it was all she needed to get the Vice President without struggles. She was a hundred percent sure it would work beautifully and that it could not be stopped by whatever the Vice President tries or even Rex.
But the enemies also had a plan to distract her, something else was coming her way.
Chapter 11 Part 1&2
Cole flew out of the bed quickly and reached for his guns on the drawer. He put one of the guns behind his belt and held the other in his right hand, hiding it at his back. He proceeded to the door carefully as the knock continued. He heard his name being called in the same manner again.
‘Who is it?’ he shouted, hiding behind the door.
‘Henry.’ the voice replied.
‘Henry?’ he asked to be sure. The voice was Henry’s voice but there was so much panic heard in it that Cole knew there had to be trouble.
‘Yes, open up.’
‘What’s the matter?’ he asked, not willing to open the door yet.
‘Just open the door first,’ Henry insisted in a strong tone.
Cole stepped to the front of the door and held his gun in readiness as he reached for the lock, he turned it and dragged the door open immediately.
Henry quickly shifted back and raised his hands in the air at the sight of the gun pointed at him. He held a tablet in his right hand.
‘Who’s with you?’ Cole asked, moving carefully to the door. He looked around outside his entrance before dropping the gun. ‘Come in,’ he said to Henry and waited at the entrance.
He closed the door after Henry entered and locked it firmly.
‘What’s with the gun you carrying about?’ Henry asked, a disturbed look on his face.
‘You knocked and called my name as if there was trouble,’ Cole replied, trying to calm himself.
‘Yes, there is trouble.’ Henry said with a shaky voice. He turned on the screen of the device in his hand and typed in the password.
‘What’s the problem?’ Cole asked, with the side of his lips raised in contempt. But it changed as he looked at Henry’s face and noticed the seriousness.
‘I tried to call Omotara already but she’s not answering,’ Henry began with a panicking tone.
‘Just tell me what the matter is.’
‘Here,’ Henry showed him something on the tablet device. ‘Someone has kidnapped my mum.’
‘Huh?’ Cole’s eyes widened in shock and he collected the device from Henry. ‘Is this your mum?’ he asked, staring at the picture.
‘Yes, she was taken this morning. On her way back home.’ Henry said.
‘How did you get this picture?’
‘It was sent to me.’
‘By the kidnappers.’
Cole gave him a suspicious look, ‘How did they get your contact?’
‘They sent it to my public email.’
Cole kept his gaze on the floor as he began to ponder on the situation and what the enemy was trying to achieve with the strategy.
‘We have to do something quick,’ Henry said, his voice still full of panic. To him, Cole was being too slow and thinking too much about the matter.
‘Henry, you just have to calm down. We must not do anything in a hurry,’ Cole replied in a warning tone.
‘You say I should calm down?’ Henry widened his eyes at Cole. ‘Just take a look at the message they sent with it.’ He opened the email proper for Cole to see. ‘They’ve given me twenty four hours to meet them or they send pieces of my mother’s body to me in a body bag.’
‘Hmm, Rex…’ Cole said in whispers and let out a sigh.
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‘Yes, Rex. The same threat he made to me.’
‘But he didn’t give you the same twenty four hours deadline.’
‘Yes, he didn’t.’ Cole replied, staring blankly at the wall. His mind was far away, searching for what to do in Tarasha’s absence.
‘Cole, I need to do something fast.’ Henry said, shaking him by the shoulders.
‘Yes, we’ll do something fast. Let’s go to the control room.’ he said and turned back to the bed, he walked to the drawer beside it and returned one of the guns and picked a bunch of keys.
They got into the control room a minute later and they began to boot the computer systems. ‘Do make a call to Tarasha again.’ Cole told Henry.
‘She’s still not answering,’ Henry replied after an attempt.
‘Send a text message telling her of the new development.’
Henry obeyed Cole’s instruction by sending a brief message which communicated what they needed to.
‘Cole, why are we here?’ What exactly are we supposed to do here?’ Henry questioned.
‘Where else should we be?’ Cole asked as he took his seat behind the main system.
‘Did I tell you that I was demanded in the message to send a confirmation of receipt?’
‘You didn’t tell me, I read it in the email myself.’ Cole replied. ‘Take a chill pill, let’s try get their location from here first.’
‘They sent me their address already.’
‘Did they put any phone number you can reach them on?’
‘No, I didn’t see any.’
‘Is this the man?’ Tarasha asked, staring at a man’s picture on the laptop screen.
‘That was him when he was younger,’ Chief Gab replied, swiping across the gallery. ‘These are his family members,’ Chief Gab stopped at a particular picture of a family of six; the Doctor and his wife with their four children- two guys and two ladies, the youngest one amongst them was close to Tarasha’s age. ‘All his kids are grown up.’
‘Are they all living in Nigeria?’ Tarasha asked. She took out her vibrating phone from her pocket and glanced at the screen to check the caller, it was Henry again. She had decided not to answer his calls until she was done with the meeting with Chief Gab, thinking he was just calling to ask of her well-being. She dropped the phone back into her pocket and concentrated on what the man was telling her.
‘I don’t know where all his kids are right now, but I know that none of them studied in Nigeria. The first one graduated as a medical doctor from the united States and the second a Mechanical Engineer. Only the two younger ones studied in other African countries.’
‘I have to get these pictures into my device,’ she said as she took out her phone again. ‘Would you turn on your hotspot?’
‘Okay. Do you know if the man is retired or still in service?’
‘I think he is legally retired now but he still works as a consultant for different hospitals.’
A message entered as she swiped down the notification bar to turn on the WiFi. She turned it on before clicking on the message. It read;
‘Omotara, my mother was attacked on the road and kidnapped by unknown men. They’ve asked that I come meet them at a certain location in twenty four hours time or they chop her body into pieces.’
‘Oh F***!’ Tarasha cursed in a loud tone.
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‘What is it?’ Chief Gab who was still marking all the pictures turned to ask her.
She shook her head and let out a short breath. ‘There’s an issue at the base in Abuja.’
‘What issue?’ the Chief asked.
‘Vice President Elvis has another assasin who has been on our trail for sometime now and he’s just pulled a new move.’
‘Never mind, I’ll take care of it. You just send the details of the Doctor to me. Now, I have to return to Abuja as soon as possible.’
__15 minutes later__
‘They sent the message from Kurudu.’
‘Yes, that’s the same place I was asked to come meet them. Is the place in Abuja?’
‘Yes, it is. According to the map here, it’s just twenty one minutes drive from Asokoro.’ Cole replied.
‘Then we have to go there immediately,’ Henry got up to his feet at once.
‘Go where?’ Cole shot a look at him.
‘Go to where they are at Kurudu.’
‘But we can’t go without making necessary plans,’ Cole countered.
‘What time do we have to plan before they do anything to my mother?’
‘And do you think rushing there would guarantee your mother’s safety?’
Henry allowed Cole’s words to sink for a while but the fear of losing his mother wouldn’t just allow his mind settle. ‘Cole, we need to do something fast. I can’t just relax and watch my mother die because of my involvement with Omota… I mean with Samantha Osman. She doesn’t deserve such, if anyone should die, it should be me.’
‘I understand you perfectly well and I know how you feel but we can’t just rush into it, rushing without planning could make us lose on both sides.’
‘What then do we do?’ Cole asked weakly, he pulled a chair closer and sank into it.
‘Let’s wait for the boss’ instruction,’ Cole replied.
‘Wait? What if she never replies?’
‘She would reply, I’m sure of that.’
Cole’s phone began to ring just as he finished with his reply to Henry. He picked it up and checked who the caller was, then he turned the screen to Henry, ‘She’s calling already.’
‘But…but why didn’t she return my calls since I’ve been trying to reach her?’ Henry wondered aloud
‘Boss,’ Cole answered the call.
‘Hi Cole, I got a text message not too long ago, did he tell you about it?’
‘Yes, he did, I asked him to send the text.’
‘What’s the situation like?’
‘His mother is in Rex’s custody and he has promised to kill her in twenty four hours if he doesn’t meet him in a certain place in Kurudu.’
‘What does he want from Henry?’
‘He didn’t say, Henry was only asked to come.’
‘How did they get to Henry?’
‘They sent the message to his public email address.’
‘Have you tried to confirm the origin of the message and the location of the sender?’
‘Yes, I have confirmed already, the location is the same as the address given for Henry to meet them.’
‘That’s interesting,’ there was a silence of five seconds. ‘What is Rex trying to achieve with this again?’
‘Of course to get your attention again, I’m thinking he’ll be personally handling this one.’
‘So what do you think we need to do?’
There was a long silence. Cole’s mind suddenly went blank even though he had been putting some ideas together before she asked, he never expected her to put the ball in his court.
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‘Boss, now we’ve determined their location but we’re not sure if that is where they really have his mum. I think we should call them out to meet us somewhere else, it’s dangerous to meet them in the address given to us.’
‘They won’t agree to that,’ Tarasha said immediately after his suggestion and a deafening silence which lasted for almost two minutes. ‘Don’t make any move yet and do not reply their messages, forward to my email a copy of the message sent to Henry.
The call ended and Cole was faced with Henry’s eager eyes staring at him and ears waiting to listen to the details of the call.
‘She asked us to forward the message to her email address and wait for her instruction.’
‘How long do we wait?’
‘Let’s forward the message first, Tarasha would not waste time in getting back to us.’
One hour after Cole spoke with Tarasha, he and Henry remained in the control room acting in the instructions she had given then after reading the mail. Henry sat tiredly at a seat behind Cole’s, his face up and his back head resting on the top of the plastic chair backrest.
‘The vehicle crossed the cameras areas before the attack, and there was also no record of the vehicle leaving that place or turning back through the same road.’ Cole said, turning back towards Henry.
‘Does that mean that the driver of the car and the other passengers have not left the since?’
‘I don’t know what it means, we have to check if there’s any record of accidents along the route at the same time they passed.’
Henry stretched and yawned as he raised his head from the table where he placed it on, he looked around the control room, Cole was gone and the computer systems were off. He got up from the seat and stretched again. His head began to pound heavily as panic for his mum’s safety returned to his mind again.
He walked out of the control room to look for Cole. He saw a meal neatly served on the dining as he walked through the living room, he knew they must have left it there for him but he wasn’t ready to eat until he was sure he knew what to do about his mum.
He met Cole working on a laptop when he got to his room.
‘Cole, have you spoken to Omotara again?’
‘Yes, I have.’
‘And where is she now?’
‘She’s still in Lagos.’
‘Why? I thought she said she was coming back immediately.’
‘She wanted to, but there’s no flight returning to Abuja today and she has not been able to hire a car to bring her back.’
‘But she has to tell us what to do even in her absence.’
‘She already told us what to do.’
‘Do nothing and wait for her.’
‘Yes, look here Henry. Reports about an accident along the road that car took has started coming in but Tarasha has checked herself and noticed that it was only an arranged accident.’
‘Arranged accident? What does that mean?
Yes, look here Henry. News outlets have already started giving reports about an accident along the road but Tarasha has checked it and noticed that it was only an arranged accident.’
‘Arranged accident, what does that mean?’
‘No accident occurred, it was only set up to look that way.’
‘For what purpose?’
‘To make the event look like something other than a kidnap.’
‘I don’t still understand.’
‘You don’t have to understand bro,’ Cole slammed at him, tired of explaining the situation.
‘I need to understand, it’s my mother we’re talking about here.’ Henry fired back.
‘They took your mum out of the place in an ambulance like an injured person who they are taking to the hospital.’
‘Is she truly injured?’
‘No, she isn’t, they only made it appear like that. The ambulance took her somewhere else and not aa hospital.’
Henry took a pause to think about Cole’s explanation and make sense out of it.
‘But how long do we have to wait for Omotara?’
‘I directed her to a place she can find a car but she can’t arrive here anytime earlier than tomorrow morning.’
‘And what assurance do we have that nothing would have happened to my mother?’
‘You’ve not replied the message, have you?’
‘There’s no way those guys are going to know that you’ve gotten the message.’
Stephanie took a brief pause to look out through the car windows as they met a traffic jam. She checked her wristwatch for time and sighed on seeing that it was already evening, it meant she only had a short time to spend with her mum if she wanted to return to town that day, the other option which she hadn’t considered was to stay longer and sleep over in a nearby hotel and return to school very early the next morning. Weekends were always the best period to make visits but she had been busy with functions for the past week.
It was the second time she was visiting after her foster mother – madam Henrietta – had left for the United States. Their relationship had normalized even though the woman still reminded her from time to time how she wanted them to live in the same country. Stephanie couldn’t think of leaving yet, not until she could get her real mother to be in her own custody.
Her life had returned to normal, she had gone back to being the President of the SWAD team and returned to her normal activities in school. The betrayal amongst the SWAD team members had also been arrested by the police and security for her in the school premises had been tightened up by the rest of the SWAD members.
Just as the roads cleared and vehicles began to move normally, Stephanie’s phone notified her of an incoming call. She took it out of her bag and stared at the screen for a moment, trying to recognize the unsaved number.
‘Hello, who am I speaking with?’
‘Good evening Steph, how are you?’
‘I’m fine, thank you. So who am I speaking with?’
‘It’s Dave, remember me?’
‘Dave… Sorry, I don’t really remember, can you tell me where we met?’
‘We met at the hospital after your encounter with Samantha Osman,’ the voice replied.
‘Oh! The guy that came like a Doctor?’
‘Yes, how are you?’
‘I’m fine, how about you?’
‘Nice to hear from you again.’
‘Yea, really nice. So have you heard recently from the police?’
‘They came about two weeks ago to ask if I could now remember what happened?’
‘And what did you tell them?’
‘That I can’t remember anything of course.’
‘Thank God, do you recognize the officers that came to you?’
‘Agent Tim and officer James.’
‘Okay, please let that secret be kept between us for now. If anyone knows you remember, your life would be in danger.’
‘Thank God you know, I just hope Samantha Osman would meet her Waterloo very soon, so that we can forget everything about her.’
‘Hmm… But I don’t really think she’s someone bad.’
‘She’s an assassin, she has killed several people for money and that is bad enough. Don’t pity her because she didn’t hurt you.’
‘Well, I’m just saying how I feel.’
‘I understand you but it’s dangerous to have compassion on assassins or other hardened criminals, they would take advantage of that and cause more harm to the world through you.’
‘I’ve heard you.’
‘Good. So have you heard from her recently?’
‘Heard from who?’
‘From Samantha Osman.’
‘No,’ she sounded surprised at his question. ‘I don’t have her contact and she doesn’t have mine, what do you expect her to reach me for?’
‘Don’t get pissed dear, I was just asking.’
‘I’m not angry, I’m only surprised. Do you think my mind would be at rest if ever I come across her again?’
‘I understand you. Why don’t we just forget about Samantha Osman and the police for now. How’s school?’
‘School is fine, how is work?’
‘Fine too, just been stressful these days. How were you able to cover up all you missed during your absence from school?’
She chuckled. ‘I have friends who helped me with notes and explanation on some difficult courses, so I didn’t find it difficult to level up with the others. We just finished our exams last week and I think I did well.’
‘Oh! That’s good. So it means you’re on break right now?’
‘Yes, on first semester break already though I’m still busy with the SWAD activities and some other functions in school.’
Alright, I hope we’ll be able to spend some time out when you’re finally available.’
‘I hope so too.’
‘When will that time be?’
‘When I’ll be free?’
‘I can’t really say for now. I plan on spending more time with my mum during this break, it’s a very short one.’
‘I thought your mum has gone back to the States.’
‘Ermm… No,’ Stephanie realized he was talking about Madam Stephanie but decided not to talk about her real mother. ‘She’s in Nigeria.’
‘Okay but it doesn’t stop us from spending an hour or two together.’
‘I know but.. Please Dave, you have to call back later. I’m in a cab and I’m close to where I’m going to.’
‘Alright then, till later.’
Jumoke sat in the dressing room gisting with the other nurses who were getting dressed and making preparations to resume duty. She was dressed up and ready to resume duty already, she had gotten to the hospital hours before the time of resumption.
‘That man messed up the ward big time, the cleaners had a difficult time making the place neat again.’ One of the six nurses in the room said and the others burst into laughter. Their subject of discussion was a dirty patient who through his admission in the hospital kept messing up the room, giving the cleaners extra work to do and making the environment uncomfortable for the nurses and doctors whenever they needed to attend to him there.
‘Thank God I was never assigned to handle his case, I could have given a piece of my mind.’ another nurse said, forming a ‘no-nonsense’ look on her face.
‘I think one of the nurses on morning duty tried to correct him and it almost turned into a fight,’ the first nurse said again.
‘Na wa o,’ Jumoke commented as she and the other nurses laughed again. She couldn’t pay attention to their gist anymore as her phone began to ring then, she took it out of her purse and saw the incoming caller’s name, Dave.
‘Hello Dave,’ she answered the call and proceeded towards the door to leave the noise area.
‘Good evening Jumoke,’ he replied in a pleasant tone.
‘Good evening Dave, it’s nice to hear from you again, I thought you were never going to call.’
‘I’m sorry I don’t call as often as you do but I’m trying to do better.’
‘You’re really doing better these days, the last time you left for work, you didn’t call or send a message for several months until you miraculously appeared again.’
‘Well, I refuse to take that as a compliment. I just called to find out how you’re doing.’
‘Thanks, I’m doing fine, how about you?’
I’m also doing great. How’s the hospital?’
‘Fine.’ she replied with a smile.
‘Well, do you guys still get visits from the police?’
‘No, it has stopped a long time ago.’
‘Dave, when are we seeing again?’
‘Hmm…’ Dave accompanied his hum with a sigh, that was the question he was expecting. ‘I don’t really know, I just have this project on Samantha Osman that’s taking so much of my time. I’m planning to move completely to Lagos when I’m done with the job.’ He sighed again. ‘It’s getting tiring already, like she’s never going to be discovered. No one seems to have seen her or have information about her and that’s what’s making the job so difficult.’
‘What do you need from people who have seen her?’
‘I just need to ask them a few questions,’ Dave replied. There was silence from the other end, so Dave continued. ‘I think she threatened those who didn’t die after meeting her and that’s why they’re so scared of talking about her to anyone.’
‘Yes, they would be scared. What if she finds out? It could lead to their death.’
‘How in the world is she going to find out? She’s not every where for God’s sake, how would she get to know of their private conversation with me? A lot of people are just too scared to take a simple move that could cause a great change and victory for the country,’ Dave said in a loud aggressive tone.
‘Hey! Calm down Dave,’ Jumoke said in low tones. ‘Can you call me tonight between eleven thirty to twelve?’
‘Eleven thirty to twelve? Isn’t that too late? Are you at work?’
‘Yes, I’m at work and that’s when I’ll be able to talk to you.’
‘Hope there’s no problem?’
‘I have something to tell you Dave,’ she replied in low tones, taking a glance back at her colleagues who were now silent.
‘Okay, I’ll call you then.’ Dave replied and hung up from his end.
Jumoke closed her eyes and took in a deep breath holding the phone with her two hands close to her chest. She could see Samantha’s face clearly in her mind. She recalled how Samantha was carried into her room and treated that night and also remembered the warning given to her.
‘Who was that?’ one of the nurses asked in a tone of mischief as she turned back into the dressing room. The other nurses in the room also had their eyes fixed on her inquisitively.
‘Just a friend,’ Jumoke answered and returned to her seat without looking at their faces again, she knew where they were driving at.
‘You’ll be calling someone who’s just a friend by eleven thirty?’ she was questioned further.
‘It worked, she’s going tell something good when I call back tonight.’ Dave said in a calm tone and dropped the phone on the table. He pulled the laptop closer to his front and began to type using his keyboard.
‘But this babe could kill you when she finds out that you’re playing with her feelings,’ Lizzy who was seated beside him replied.
‘But I don’t have a choice, I just have to do it this way.’ Dave countered.
‘You do have a choice, you don’t have to lie to her and make her think you have feelings for her and that she has a future with you when you’re planning to dump her after the whole game.’
Lizzy, I do not have a choice. I’m just doing the same thing you do to the men to fulfill your purpose.’ Dave said, facing her.
‘I don’t do the same, I don’t toy with feelings of innocent men. Whoever I play the game with must be a criminal himself.’
Dave looked away from her and kept his stare on the laptop’s screen as he pondered on her words. He shook his head after a brief moment and took a brief look at her, ‘I’ve gone too far to stop now, there’s nothing I can do about it.’
‘I know you’ve gone far, I just have pity for the lady, it’ll cause her a lot of of pain at the end.’
‘Do you also pity the guys you break?’
‘No, they are criminals and they need no pity.’
‘I see,’ Dave said and turned back to his laptop.
‘What are you going to do about Jumoke?’
‘I’ll think about it later, let’s settle the matter at hand first.’
A deafening silence dominated the next five minutes, Dave worked on the laptop while Lizzy watched and jotted down the necessary details from his work.
‘What you need to do is gain Cole’s trust first and gain access to his devices, from that we can extract his usernames and passwords for a lot of things. I want you to also chip in general talks about Samantha Osman during your conversations and hear how he responds.’
‘Alright, I understand all that you need from him but it may take a very slow process, depending on how gullible he is. I’ll have to show him some care first before he gets to trust me.’
‘I don’t really think it’ll be slow, the guy is in love with you already,’ Dave said in a confident tone.
‘Well, I’m still doubting that and I’m getting more afraid. I told you before that he acted too simple to get, I don’t think an assassin trained like Samantha Osman should have given in so easily.’
‘Hey Liz, I think you’re getting something wrong here.’ Dave took a brief pause to open the saved profile of Cole on the computer. ‘Cole is not as trained as Samantha Osman and if he even received any training, that’ll be just gun training and some little self defence stuffs. So stop looking at him from the same angle you’re viewing Samantha, he was just a cultist in Don’s cult who graduated and started to practice assassination.’
‘I see… He really can’t be as trained as I was thinking.’
‘Yea, that’s even if he ever received any form is training.’ Dave emphasized. ‘He might just be an errand boy for Samantha.’
‘Hmm… But there’s still one thing bothering me that makes me think he has fallen yet.’
‘He hasn’t called or sent any message since we parted ways yesterday.’
‘Is he supposed to send any?’
‘Yes, his actions yesterday depicted him as someone who was in love but since we departed yesterday, he has not called or sent any message till now, not to even ask of my well-being.’
‘I told you he went directly to the club yesterday, he would need to rest after the heavy boozing.’
‘I know, but this is past six, evening already and someone who is supposed to be crazily in love with me hasn’t called to find out if I arrived safely or even thank me for the outing.’
‘You’re saying the truth, is it possible that something has happened to him?’
‘I don’t think so but I think we should just wait and see how it goes.’
‘What if you call him?’
‘Hmm… Maybe I should send a message instead. I’ll have to register this number on Whatsapp now.’
Dave got up from his seat to stretch his body and before he could finish, his phone began to ring. He took the phone from the table and glanced at the screen, it was Inspector Dakolo calling.
‘Cole, what’s happening now? Have you spoken to her again? She’s not answering my calls.’ Henry said on entering into Cole’s room. He closed the door and stood right behind it. He could see Cole still working on the NSCC footages and trying to connect them.
‘You should have sent her a message. But I know she’s gotten a car already and she’s driving back to Abuja.’
Henry took a glance at his wristwatch, ‘It means she would get here before five tomorrow morning, isn’t it?’
‘Well, I think she’s not driving by herself. She might get here earlier if the driver is conversant with the roads.’
‘Okay,’ Henry said and sat on the bed quietly. Both of them remained in silence for more than five minutes.
‘So did you eventually take your lunch?’ Cole asked, getting up from the chair to stretch.
‘Cool. I think I need to take a little rest now.’ he said and picked his phone from the table, then he eventually rolled into the bed. He positioned the pillow well and placed his head on it. He then took out his phone and unlocked it, he swiped down the notification bar and began to check the notifications one after the other and later clicked on the Whatsapp message notification.
‘Oh! D–n it!’ he closed his eyes and cursed aloud on seeing the last message received few seconds ago which was from Patricia. It had totally skipped his mind to reach out to her since the last night and didn’t feel good she had to be the one to send him a message first. He could still feel the touch of her soft lips on his and the scent which filled his nostrils when he got closer to her and could see her walking down the road again, with her steps showing more elegance than that of a professional model. His heart longed for every part of her, her heart, soul and body.
‘Is there any problem?’ Henry turned to ask Cole.
‘No problem,’ Cole quickly opened his eyes.
Henry could see from his smiling face that there was no problem and that something on his phone was the cause of the reaction.
Cole exited the app and opened the dialer. In less than thirty seconds, he was connecting to her number.
‘Good evening Patricia, I’m sorry I’ve not reached you since yesterday. How are you doing?’
‘It’s okay, I’m fine. How about you?’
‘I’m also fine.’
‘So how was work today?’
‘Not bad, yours?’
‘I sent you a whatsapp message not too long ago.’
‘Yea, I just saw it now. I’ve been busy all through the day.’
‘It’s okay, so can we chat on Whatsapp?’
The call ended and Cole opened the WhatsApp application again. He could feel Henry’s eyes on him, but decided not to return the look. He clicked on the chat with Patricia and typed in a message in reply to hers. After sending his message, he clicked on her picture above the chat to view her profile. The first thing he did was to enlarge the picture and stare at it for a long while, smiling to himself as he admired her beauty. Then he exited it as he got the beep for her reply. He noticed from her profile as he was about to reply the chat that the WhatsApp account was newly registered and wondered for a second why she only recently created an account on the messenger.
Henry watched as Cole smiled all to himself and his phone. He felt bad but looked away immediately, he shook his head and ran his fingers into his hair simultaneously. He knew it would be out of place for him to expect Cole to be sad as he was, the guy had done what he could do already by being busy all day trying to connect the footages which could help them locate his mum. Henry took out his phone also, hoping to also relax his mind a little by chatting with Omotara or anyone else available.
As he unlocked the phone, he could see the email icon blinking at the notification bar. He swiped it down and clicked on the new message. The message did not waste time in loading and then he saw something that shocked him, a video of his mum’s whole body tied to a chair alone in a room, she was sweating profusely and her mouth and eyes were covered. The video showed every part of her body and the tight ropes on it, then it also showed the sides of the room, there were no windows or visible openings except a small closed door. The view was repeated again and then a message appeared at the end, ‘We know you ignored our first message, you may also choose to ignore this. But it’ll be nice for you to know that the oxygen in this room would be used up in nine hours time and she would be left to fight for her life without oxygen. It’s in your hands; you either kill her or allow her live. You have the address already.’
Henry was shivering and sweating all over by the time he finished reading the message. He jumped up at once and first rushed to the door not knowing what to do, then he rushed back to Cole’s table.
Cole looked up at that moment and saw the panic, he sat up and stared at Henry while the other searched the table. ‘What’s the matter?’ he asked.
‘I’m going to get my mum now, I won’t forgive myself if she dies because of me.’
Cole stared at him for a moment like he didn’t understand the language he spoke, then he turned back and looked at the phone, he knew it had to do with something Henry had seen there. He reached for the phone and tapped the play icon on the video.
By the time Cole finished watching the video, Henry had already gone out with the car keys and a pistol. Cole rushed after him and met him outside, walking towards the car.
‘Hey bro, wait,’ Cole shouted, running after him. ‘I called the boss already and she’ll call back in five minutes to tell us what we need to do.’
‘I’m not waiting for Omotara any longer, I don’t care if I die or not, I have to make sure that nothing happens to my mum.’ Henry replied without looking at him.
‘Calm down bro,’ Cole held his hand as he was about to open the door to the driver’s side.
Henry dragged his hand out of Cole’s and opened with the second hand. As he anted to enter the car, Cole held him firmly again by the arm above his elbow.
‘Come on, get out of my way.’ Henry stepped back and sent Cole a heavy blow on the face which sent the latter staggering backwards. He entered into the car and started the engine while Cole gently massaged his hurt face.
Cole raised his head and watched as Henry drove towards the gate. He knew Henry’s mind was made up and there was no way he could be stopped took out his phone and redialed Tarasha’s number.
Chapter 5 part 5&6
Dave opened his eyes and sat up, he was about to push the start button when he looked forward and noticed two people already seated in the vehicle he had been monitoring, a male and a female. The man was seated at the driver’s side and making a phone call while the lady sat quietly beside him watching him from time to time.
He arranged his seat properly and paused to watch properly, waiting to see their next move. The man dropped the call and turned to speak to the lady beside him. Dave continued to watch keenly, wishing that he could hear what was being said.
His phone began to ring, Lizzy was calling.
‘Who’s she?’ Tomi asked immediately Cole ended the call.
‘I told you it’s none of your business,’ he shot a cold look at her.
She eyed him and turned forward, folding her arms across her chest. ‘Where are we going from here?’
‘We’re going to place a building under close observation,’ he replied briefly.
‘You’ll see it when we get there.’
‘Am I going there just to watch you work?’
‘No, you’re going to be assisting me of course.’
‘How come you aren’t telling me the details of what we’re going for then?’
‘It isn’t the right time, I’ll tell you when it is.’ Cole snapped at her. He turned on the screen of his phone and clicked on the messenger.
‘We’re out of the house, boss. Henry’s number is unreachable.’ he typed into the chat box with Tarasha.
‘Dave, he just called me.’ Lizzy’s voice sounded through the phone.
‘He called you? What did he say?’ Dave replied.
‘He asked where I was.’
‘And what did you tell him?’
‘I told him Goodluck Street, because I suspect he might be around and might have seen me.’
‘I think so too, because he just got into the car with a girl. You did well by telling him the right address.’
‘I see… Well, I wish you luck with him tonight. Hope the girl is not one of those girls he passes the night with else you’ll waste your time like it happened the other time.’
** 4.45am next morning**
The lights in the dark room suddenly came on again, brightening the whole place. The walls reflected lights from every angle and the ceiling beamed with different colours.
Henry’s eyes could not accommodate the light but he struggled to sit up from his sleeping position using the back of his hand to cover his eyes. The room was colder than it was at night and there were no sounds anywhere except for the movement of the walls and other mechanisms around.
Soon, the door which opened the way to the meal the previous day opened again and a man could be seen coming in from there. Henry saw his legs at first approaching him but looked up and saw his face with difficulty as the lights still obstructed his view.
Stainless stopped beside him and squatted, he placed a hand on his shoulder. Henry was already looking down.
‘Brother, I wan borrow you one money.’ Stainless began in Nigerian Pidgin English to get Henry’s attention. ‘See ehn, make I tell you one truth wey go help you.’ he continued and switched to correct English after being sure he had Henry’s attention. ‘Rex is ready to kill your mum if you don’t give out Tarasha to him and then he’s going to kill you after. If you really do want to help yourself, you should do whatever he says, he’s awake and would soon be talking to you.’
Stainless concluded and rose up without waiting for a response. He proceeded towards the door through which Henry had entered the last night, he tapped a button beside the door and waited for it to open.
‘Wait, can I speak to you for a second?’ Henry called unto him.
Stainless turned back but gave no reply, he turned back to the door and stepped out as soon as the door opened. Henry got up and walked to the door but it closed before he got there. He pushed the same button he had seen Stainless press and to his surprise he began to hear sounds of the door preparing to open like it happened with Stainless. The door opened widely and then he was left confused whether to go out or not. The day was still dark though there were lights outside everywhere, but he couldn’t see Stainless who had just gone out. The door was still opened. He took another look back again, there was no visible person watching him and nothing stopping him from going outside. He looked outside again to see if anyone was watching.
He took a step out, leaving one in and still contemplating on what to do. After about one minute of indecision, he stepped outside completely and climbed the balcony. He turned back on hearing a sound, it was the door closing by itself. It was too late to go back in.
He looked around and located his car, it was still parked at the same spot he left it the previous night. The rain began to drizzle on him as he proceeded towards the car.
‘Wake up Cole!’ Tomi shook Cole repeatedly on the shoulder.
‘Yes, did you see anything?’ Cole asked in a sleepy voice, taking her hand off his shoulder while she shook him. He had watched all night till three o’clock and decided to catch some sleep while Tomi took over guard. He was sure that he would be up before Tarasha arrives the place.
‘I saw Henry, he’s walking somewhere right now.’ she replied, looking out through the car window with a viewing device.
‘Henry?’ Cole sprang up at the sound of the name. ‘Where?’ he adjusted the driver’s seat back to position and collected the device from her. She gave space for him to also check what she was seeing. ‘He’s the one,’ Cole confirmed. They couldn’t see the face properly from the device because of the darkness of the day but they were able to tell it was him from the colour of his clothes and his stature. The drizzling rain made the vision become fainter.
‘So, what’s next?’ she asked, trying to move Cole’s body away from hers. He had a knee placed in between her lap and his side almost covering her face allowing for only very little air.
‘We have to wait and watch a little,’ Cole replied as he returned to his seat.
‘Wait and watch? Isn’t that all we’ve been doing overnight? I thought you said we would act immediately we see Henry come out.’
‘We can’t just do anything yet, we don’t know why he’s out and if anyone is watching our following him.’
‘I saw someone pass there some seconds before Henry came out but the person turned to the back of the house, it looked like Stainless, I’m not so sure.’
Cole leaned towards her again and used the viewing device the second time.
‘I’m sure the one we saw now is Henry, that’s the cloth he wore out of the house.’
The vibration in Henry’s pocket made him realize that there was now network signal on his phone. He closed the car door and took out the phone. At that moment, he remembered that he had been stripped of all the weapons he came to the place with and had nothing to fight with if the need arose. But did he even need to fight anyone?
He checked the phone’s screen and saw the network box full, he quickly swiped down to see the notifications. He had different messages from Cole and Tarasha and the latest one from Rex. He opened Rex’s message which just entered not more than a minute before. It read;
‘Since you choose to leave, you have one more hour to make your choice’
He exited the message and dialed Tarasha’s number, it was answered at the first ring.
‘Henry, where are you?’ Tarasha’s voice sounded through the speaker.
‘Kurudu,’ Henry replied in a tired voice.
‘And what about your mother?’
‘They’ve refused to release her yet.’
‘What do they want?’
‘They want you.’
There was a minute silence.
‘And what did you tell them?’
‘I told them you weren’t in town.’
‘What was their response?’
‘They don’t believe me and they’ve threatened to kill my mother in the next one hour if I don’t comply.’
‘Where exactly are you now and how are you being able to talk to me? Is your call being monitored?’
Henry took some seconds to look around. ‘I’m sure this call isn’t tracked because my phone wasn’t touched but I’m sure someone is watching me from somewhere. They didn’t lock the doors of the place I was kept and I was allowed to go out without being stopped.’
‘Okay,’ a deep breath could be heard from Tarasha’s end. ‘You should go back into place and tell them about this call and lead them to me.’
‘Huh? I should do what?’
‘Yes, tell him I’ll be there in an hour time.’
Rex heard the door open but he didn’t bother to look back to see who it was, he just looked at the small magnifying glass resting on the wall behind the desktop and he saw Stainless. He returned his focus back to the screen where he could see Henry speaking to someone via phone call.
‘Get ready, he’s connected to someone on phone now, we will have to act and vacate here soon.’ Rex said without turning back.
‘He took the bait and went out?’ Stainless asked in a surprise tone as he approached where Rex was seated, fixing his gaze on the screen. ‘I think he believes his mum will live since we took her out of that room.’
‘We’re going to kill that woman and he’ll know we’re not joking,’ Rex said nonchalantly. ‘Which room did you keep her?’
‘In one of the rooms.’
‘Here or the other building?’
‘The other one.’
‘Which of the rooms ’cause we got four big ones in there?’
‘I think the third one.’
‘Good, she dies this morning. Whether or not we see Tarasha.’ Rex said and turned back. His phone was ringing.
‘Hello Vice President,’ Rex answered immediately.
‘Rex, I think this thing is backfiring already.’ the man’s voice sounded urgent.
‘What’s the matter?’
‘News about the kidnap is already being reported by Nigerian blogs already, it could be on World news by dawn.’
Dave finally released the mouse after clicking publish. He got up from the seat, yawned and stretched a little before seating back. He picked the mouse again and minimized the app and opened the system’s native browser. The homepage http://w—————m loaded and he opened another tab after quickly going through all the recent updates and bookmarking the ones to read. He typed in the address of the first of five blogs he had published the article, it already had six comments. He smiled to himself, the article was pulling much traffic like he expected it. He was going to get the attention and noise he desired and also get well paid for it. He clicked on the navigation bar and typed in the Nairaland web address, the homepage displayed in some seconds and he saw one of the top articles with a similar headline to the article he created. He clicked on it to confirm if it was the same. The title of the article was ‘Police releases Mrs George (Henry E.G’s mother) to the hands of kidnappers’. The article was no different from the one he had posted but it was posted by a different user and had made the front-page instead of his own due to the popularity of the poster. Dave didn’t mind because the poster still did well enough to add the source of the article beneath it.
‘Boss, I’ve been trying to connect to you for some minutes now. We just saw Henry come into his car from the building a few minutes ago and now he’s proceeding back into the building.’ Cole said into the phone. He was now seating properly at the passengers’ side where he could view properly while Tomi had moved to the driver’s side.
‘He just called me and I asked him to go back in, they gave him one hour to comply before they execute his mother and that’s just about the same time I will get to that location.’
‘Okay boss, what exactly should we do now? Should we wait for some minutes before the given time?’
‘Just watch what happens, I’ve told him to comply. I hope nobody knows you’re there.’
‘Nobody knows, I’ve been here with Tomi alone and I didn’t let her know what we were coming to do until we got here.’
‘Great, I will join you soon.’
‘D–n! How in the world could this have leaked out?’ Rex cursed aloud, slamming his fists on the table as he read the news on the screen.
‘I’m suspecting Samantha, you said she was nowhere to be found. This is what she must have been up to,’ Stainless who stood by his side suggested.
‘I wonder what she’s trying to do,’ Rex said with a confused look on his face. ‘How can she be investigating the kidnap instead of facing her work?’ he asked himself in a loud voice. He placed a finger on his lips and turned his swivel one eighty degrees, balancing his back as he thought of what next to do. After some seconds, he turned back to the table and picked his phone. He dialed Chief Rikau’s number.
‘Inspector General, someone is giving out information from your end, you have to fish out that person.’
‘It can’t be from here, we made sure no one heard about this except the man in charge of Samantha Osman’s case.’
‘It isn’t from here also because I work with only one man, Stainless, and he would not dare sell us out to Samantha.’ Rex said, giving a threatening look at Stainless.
‘Then how did it get to the news? Didn’t you use the kidnap to threaten Samantha?’
‘To threaten Henry,’ Rex corrected.
‘But they work together and the main focus is Samantha.’
‘Listen, even if she decided to let out the news to gain public sympathy, there’s no way she could have gotten so much details without an insider giving her. They even reported the motor service used, the type of car and even time of departure.’
‘Rex, I don’t know how that happened. You know I’ve been against this plan all along and I warned you and the Vice President.’
‘You should learn to calm down a bit more, things have not gotten out of hand yet, you should have called me first before calling the VP.’
‘See you talking about who I should have called first…’
‘Till later, IG.’ Rex interrupted the man and cut the call on seeing something on the computer screen.
He maximized a blinking window and the interface for the cameras showed. He could see from the several clip options that Henry had come back into the place.
‘What the hell is he doing here?’ Rex asked rhetorically. His face was full of shock, he never expected Henry to return and he wondered what Tarasha was up to. He had thought she would fight back since he made the kidnap but she didn’t and now Henry was back instead of running to her like he expected. ‘What is she up to?’ Rex asked aloud again.
‘I’m BACK!’ Henry shouted again in the room as he looked around but got nothing except echoes in response. He remained silent for some seconds, thinking that his hosts had left the building already. But just before he concluded, the walls of the place brightened and the full lights came on again.
‘I see you made the decision to come back, I hope it is to cooperate.’ the voice came out loud but not sounding too confident like it always did.
‘Yes, I just called Samantha some minutes ago. She’s on her way here now and I can lead you to her if your want me to.’
There was a long silence, longer than expected. Henry had thought they would be glad at his acceptance to take them to her but he wasn’t sure anymore as the response was withheld from him.
‘Give me a second,’ the voice finally replied and everything went dead silent.
‘D–n it! That girl is smart,’ Rex exclaimed painfully, biting his lips. ‘How did she get to know my plans?’ he muttered to himself.
Rex’s attention moved to his phone which vibrated on the table. He picked up the phone and answered the call.
‘Rex, I want Mrs George returned right away. Where do we meet you to get her?’ the Vice President barked in a serious tone.
‘Give me two minutes to get back to you,’ Rex replied in low tones and ended the call. He closed his eyes and heaved a heavy sigh. ‘We have to take Mrs George back to the police,’ he said to Stainless after a minute of thinking silently.
‘Okay, so what do we do to the woman we planned to use?’
‘That woman does not need to die anymore, her death won’t be useful to us.’ Rex replied.
His plans had been totally foiled. He had used Henry’s mother to lure Henry to himself and planned on killing another woman in place of the mother but make it look as if it was Henry’s mother that was killed, only to Henry and his colleagues but secret to the general public. This, he intended to use in causing friction amongst Tarasha and those in her camp. If he had been successful in making Henry think his mother was killed because of Tarasha’s negligence, insensitivity or incapability, he would have done the same with Cole. That would have made both Henry and Cole weaker forces in her team and he would then strike through the weak links. But he couldn’t go ahead with the plans anymore because the news of the kidnap would have gone round the country by dawn and it was against his agreement with the Vice President and Inspector General.
Cole stepped out of the car immediately he saw the car park right at their front. He already recognized the car to be a property of the transport service he had recommended to Tarasha.
She already stepped out of the car by the time he got there, she was taking out her bags from the backseat.
‘Cole, where is the building?’ she asked first before he could say anything to her.
‘Over there,’ he pointed far across the road.
‘Which one?’ she asked. There were several small buildings and houses where few was pointing at.
‘It’s the bungalow painted white,’ Cole specified and handed over his viewing device to her.
She collected the device and used it to locate the exact building he was talking about. ‘I can see one of our cars there,’ she said as she returned it to him.
‘Yes, that’s the one Henry drove.’
‘Okay, keep these bags.’
She handed to him the briefcase she got from Chief Gab and a backpack. ‘I’m going in there, watch and listen for instructions.’
‘Boss,’ Cole opened his eyes and mouth in shock, wondering if she was really going there as she said. He scrutinized her body and noticed she was well dressed. He could see the signs of the several guns, knives and pins hidden in her cloth and he knew she also wore a Kevlar underneath but he was still scared of her going to meet Rex.
The car which dropped Tarasha drove away after the driver waved at them.
‘I want you to take these things to Base B, I’ll meet you there with Henry hopefully.’ Tarasha said. ‘Turn off every traceable device with you. I called the police for reinforcement already.’
‘Hello Agent, how come you’re sleeping?’ Dave said into the phone as he drew the seatbelt.
‘Sorry Dave, but you should have dropped a voice message instead of calling repeatedly.’ Dakolo replied from the other end with a sleepy voice.
‘Hehe!’ Dave smiled and shook his head. He considered the police lazy and believed it was why they always had unsolved cases. He was still awake going about a case Inspector Dakolo had giving him lead on but the man himself was asleep and even unwilling to rise at the sound of his phone ringing.
‘I slept late last night Dave, I slept by two a.m.’
‘Hehe,’ Dave laughed the more. He felt the urge to tell the man that he hadn’t slept for more than two hours for two days but he resisted it, knowing that it would make the man suspicious about him. ‘Sir, I got the evidence from one of their workers and I have the news on several news blogs already.’
‘News about the kidnap of Henry E.G’s mother.’
‘What? But we’ve not gotten anything to prove yet,’ the man’s voice was getting clearer.
‘I have proof,’ Dave replied confidently.
‘Where did you get evidence from?’ Dakolo asked even though Dave had already mentioned where he got it from.
‘From one of the workers at the motor service. I had to pay him heavily to take pictures of the registers and send the photos to me.’
‘So, so what are the contents of your news?’
‘I just reported all I know about the issue and posted parts of the pictures necessary.’
‘You posted the pictures too?’
‘Yes, it’s pulling much traffic and would be over a million hits by dawn.’
‘What? You might have done the wrong thing. You should have reached me first, I thought we started this together.’
‘Yes, we did start it together but you went to sleep while I continued.’
‘But… But it could disturb the ongoing police investigations.’
‘No, it would only disturb their lies.’
‘Well, I should get to see you before the day runs out. I would also get up to check the news now.’
Dave ignited the car engine and sped down the road. He had to get back to Kurudu fast. He had not gotten the pictures from any of the transport service workers like he told Dakolo, he had left monitoring Victor to get into the transport service facility at midnight where he had gotten their documents and register where Mrs George’s name had been filled. It formed part of the evidence he presented in the viral news article he published.
Minutes ago when he had checked the location of Victor’s phone, it was still the same spot at Kurudu where he left Victor and the girl in their car. He would have loved to catch some sleep but he was curious to find out what or who they were waiting for at that place. He thought it better to sleep off after getting there. At least, it would be said that he made an effort, instead of dozing off at home.
It was ten minutes to the time given for his mother to be executed. Henry had shouted out loud several times to get their attention and to also remind them that he was asked to wait but it seemed that his hosts had left him alone in the place. After thirty minutes of waiting, the lights in the place had gone dim and that confirmed to him that he had been abandoned again.
Henry checked his time again, it was nine minutes left. He trembled as he looked around again for signs of anyone watching him.
‘Rex, I’m ready to comply. Where are you?’ be shouted out loud again but all he got were his words echoing back to him.
Suddenly he heard the sound of the door opening behind him, he turned and faced the door in readiness for whoever was coming. The door opened widely but no one was seen at the entrance. He stared for some more seconds before he began to approach the door slowly. He was only few steps away when Tarasha stepped in, holding two revolvers in her hands. He stopped in shock and stared at her like she was a ghost.
She proceeded forward and walked past him to the wall at the other end of the room without saying anything to him. The door she entered through did not close automatically like it was supposed to, it had been destroyed from behind. She walked about the wall from edge to edge for some seconds, then she turned and walked back, she stopped at the spot Henry dropped all the weapons and metals he had with him the last night.
‘Who has all these?’ she asked.
Henry turned to her. ‘I brought them.’
She looked around again for some seconds. ‘Who was here with you?’
‘I only saw one person, the other was talking to me from the screen.’
She returned one of the guns into her pocket and walked closer
to Henry, she stopped a metre before him. ‘There’s no one else in this building with you anymore, I checked around before entering.’
‘I saw a guy, he came in to talk to me and left through this door.’ he replied, pointing with his head to the door behind.
‘Let’s leave this place,’ Tarasha said and tried to pull his hand along with her. She was sure Henry’s threateners had vacated the place.
‘Leave?’ Henry resisted. ‘My mother is still with them.’
‘Nobody is here Henry, they evacuated this building already.’
‘He was talking to me on the screen, they had screens implanted in the walls.’ Henry explained.
‘I’ve heard you and I understand, but the person isn’t here, I don’t know if your mum was here, but nobody except me is here anymore.’ she said and pulled him by the hand again.
‘Just follow you and watch without knowing what’s happening to my mum?’ Henry continued to nag as Tarasha drove in the car. He sat at the passenger’s side and kept looking back as if to come down from the car and run back on foot.
She continued to drive without looking at him. She had had to keep up with him like that for the past thirty minutes and wasn’t going to answer him until they got out of danger totally. She pulled over to a curb after driving past the busy side of the road. She took off the seatbelt and looked out for some seconds. The day was brighter and the roads are busier, commercial vehicles had also began to operate.
‘Get out of the car,’ she said to Henry as she opened the door.
‘Huh?’ Henry seemed like he wasn’t going to respond.
‘Come out of the car,’ she said, bending to look back into the car since we was already standing outside.
‘What for?’ Henry argued. ‘My mum is somewhere being held for you and you’re here throwing orders around.’
Tarasha stood upright and closed the door. She didn’t have time to argue with him, he was in a confused state of mind and arguing with him will not help matters.
She stepped away from the car to the back and began to take slow steps back, facing the road like she was waiting for a cab. Soon a cab stopped and she waved for it to stop.
She bent through the passenger’s side to talk to the driver. ‘Can you park properly here, our car broke down and we need to move something out from the boot?’ she requested, pointing for him to park just behind the car she brought with Henry.
She walked back to the car and stood by the door where Henry was seated. ‘Let’s get into this taxi, we can’t proceed with this car.’ she said to him in low tones.
‘There’s no need to go anywhere else, I’m not sure my mom is safe yet, just leave me here if you’re not going to help me get her back.’ Henry replied stubbornly.
‘Your mum is safe,’ she bent and said to him in a very low but desperate tone. ‘They can’t do anything to her because everyone knows she’s missing now.’
She stared at him for some seconds and it seemed he was not going to budge until he finally opened the door and stepped out. She heaved a sigh of relief and closed the door of the car he left open.
‘Get into the front seat,’ she said, following him as he walked to the taxi. She turned towards the driver’s side. The man had been honking impatiently to call her attention. He thought it too early for him to waste time.
‘Where’s the load you wanted to move into my boot?’ the driver asked as he turned to Tarasha after taking a glance at Henry who entered from the right side.
‘Good morning baba,’ Tarasha said as she forced his door opened. She pointed a gun at him and ordered for him to step out which he quickly did. ‘Before the end of today at this same place, your car and your payment would be waiting for you.’ she said to him before she entered into the car and drove off.
‘Why did we have to take his car forcefully?’ Henry finally broke the silence between them after ten minutes drive.
‘I promised to return it back there with a payment for the rent,’ she replied without looking at him. ‘We can’t drive back to the base with that car you took there, they’ll track us with it.’
Dave hummed noisily in the bed where he was, he stretched and opened his eyes to locate his phone where it was ringing. He reached for it and checked the caller, it was Agent Dakolo. He silenced the phone totally and tossed it away, it was his time to ignore the agent’s call. The man must be calling after seeing the effect his news article was causing online, but Dave needed rest now and couldn’t manage to have any conversation. He had met with disappointment after getting back to Kurudu and Victor (Cole) was gone, his number was also unreachable and untraceable. He had to drive back home to get the sleep he needed but was willing to give up to get Victor, but now he promised himself not to get off the bed for anything else untilhe rested well enough. The only mistake he had made was not putting his phones on the silent mode.
‘But you were sure she left yesterday,’ Dakolo said to James with a serious look on his face, though he was holding a phone close to his ear.
‘Yes, I checked and I confirmed.’ James replied, he also had a confused look on.
Both were seated in Inspector Dakolo’s office in the Police headquarters. Dakolo had woken James up to tell him about the news on the internet. James had checked and verified the details to be true. They had no problems with it until James resumed work that morning and met with Agent Tim. He overheard the man talking to the Inspector General and receiving instructions on how to address the nation to debunk the rumours of the news of Mrs George’s kidnap. He also heard Agent Tim promising to make sure that a video record of the woman was done with them and shown to the whole nation as proof that the woman was hale.
‘Then how are they planning to make the video of the woman to debunk the news?’ Dakolo questioned. He put down his phone from his ear, he was calling Dave and the call wasn’t being answered.
‘It only means two things; it’s either the video has been recorded before or that the kidnap was masterminded by Agent Tim and the IG like we are suspecting already.’
‘We’ll confirm that only after we see the video by eight o’clock. But what about the call from Kurudu?’
‘Agent Tim already gave orders to that effect before I resumed, I can’t go there, I’ll be seen.’
‘Who did they say make the phone call?’
‘I’m not sure of the name but they said it was a lady’s voice and she claimed to have information about the whereabouts of the missing Mrs George and that the culprit is holding her at a building in Kurudu.’
‘How did Agent Tim give the officers directives to go if he was really sure of where Mrs George was?’
‘That, I can’t explain,’ James said as he stood up to his feet. ‘But I have to go now before my presence here is known by Agent Tim.’
‘Yes, you have to go.’ Dakolo said, also getting up to his feet.
‘But we need to get that journalist and verify indeed if the documents from the transport service he presented were real.’ James said before turning towards the door.
‘Yes, I’ll get back to you as soon as I reach him. I also have to visit Kurudu now,’ Dakolo said, following after James as he tucked in a pistol into the right side of his trousers.
‘Rex, have you been able to track the number?’
‘No,’ Rex replied without looking back to see the owner of the voice. He recognized the voice as the Vice President’s own and he could also hear the sound of the man’s walking stick and the Inspector General’s wheelchair approaching.
Rex used the side eye to look at Stainless who was supposed to be watching with him but the dude had slept off. Rex had been mute since he had been forced to return Mrs George to the Inspector General. He had remained in that room (one which was allotted to him in Chief Rikau’s house), trying to set up somethings on the computer system to monitor the tracker he placed on the car Henry parked outside the building in Kurudu. He had given up his plan to use Mrs George, thinking that Tarasha had masterminded all the rumours of the kidnap spreading but he was more surprised when he was told by the IG of a call that was made to the police headquarters by a lady who called herself Samantha, informing them about the kidnap and Rex’s whereabouts at Kurudu.
He had thought it was enough that she caused the noise online and also tried to use the police to work against him but the real shocker came after setting up the temporary system in the IG’s house and connecting to the facilities in Kurudu to watch and track Henry’s movement from there. He was taken aback and totally confused when he saw Tarasha, captured in the footages of the security cameras at the facility in Kurudu. He never imagined she would be coming there at that time especially after calling the police. He would had waited all night for her to show up or make a reasonable action and she didn’t, but would have waited more if he ever thought she was still going to come, even though he knew that would have been a stupid decision for him to make. He himself couldn’t tell if he was just confused about or now being scared of Tarasha.
His confusion would have been greatly reduced only if he knew there was a Dave somewhere and a police officers giving Dave information.
‘The police IT guys have also not being able to track that number Samantha used in calling. A driver from a motor service in Lagos showed up not too long ago, he claims to have some information.’ the Inspector General’s voice brought Rex back to life. The two men were now standing beside him, one at the right and the other at the left side.
‘Her number cannot be traced,’ Rex replied. ‘I should have waited there if I knew she was going to come there,’ he added with a tone of regret.
The two men at his sides exchanged quick looks, they had never heard Rex speak like that. The Vice President shrugged, he could feel Rex’s disappointment in his voice and pitied him , knowing that Tarasha could have been dead if he hadn’t insisted on killing her himself. Both of them had come to blame Rex for almost getting the IG into trouble but they could hear from Rex’ voice that he already did more than blaming himself.
‘If she had met you there and there had been a gun scuffle, you could have injured Mrs George.’ the Vice President put in.
‘Mrs George wasn’t in the same building, we only used her for a video, it was another woman entirely we had in the building with us.’
There was silence for some seconds.
‘Well, you have to find another way to get Samantha now. I never supported this method before, it failed from the beginning.’ Chief Rikau spoke, still finding a way to bring in the blame on Rex.
‘I have to get out of here very soon,’ Rex said and turned to the Vice President.
‘You can’t leave now, Mrs George is here and the press members are lurking outside. It has to be when the noise has reduced.’ Chief Rikau answered him from the back.
‘Yes, you can’t leave now. Even I will have to say I came to verify Mrs George’s presence here.’ the Vice President put in. He checked his wristwatch and then flashed a look at the IG, ‘I have to go now, I have a meeting with the President and some elder statesmen later this morning.’
Henry was the most anxious as they watched the news. He stared and trembled at every sound like he wanted to enter into the television. He didn’t believe any word about the safety of his mum from the newscaster and the live interview from the Inspector General until the man was shown with his mum and he saw her put on a smile.
‘They didn’t allow her talk,’ Henry still complained after the newscaster continued with the other items.
‘They couldn’t have,’ Cole replied him. He laid on the three seater sofa in a sleeping position but was widely awake. Tomi had slept off on the rug at the center of the living room while Tarasha sat in the one seater sofa just beside Henry and was watching in silence.
‘They are trying to cover up a lie, so they cannot allow her speak.’ Cole continued. ‘But I think the most important thing is that she is alive and they can’t harm her anymore because the news has gone public.’
Cole closed his eyes after speaking even though he saw Henry staring at him and looking like he still wanted more explanation. Henry turned to Tarasha after Cole began to doze off noisily. Tarasha on meeting his eyes also let out a yawn and readjusted herself into a position of sleep. He looked around and everyone was sleeping, a yawn also seized his mouth at that moment and tears dropped from his eyes. He moved his bum from the seat to the tiled ground. It felt cool but just like the other people in the living room, he was too tired to get up and go inside one of the rooms. He placed his backhead on the floor and closed his eyes. He took in a deep breath in peace, knowing that his mum was safer now even though may not be totally out of danger.
Dave gently stirred the tea in the cup with the spoon in it, his palm carefully placed under the saucer. He released air from his mouth to blow the hot vapour escaping the cup and proceeded to his living room with it. He dropped the cup with the saucer on the footstool before settling into the sofa beside it.
The alarm sounded. It was twelve PM. He quickly rose to find the remote control and turned on the TV. The news would be on and he didn’t want to miss any of it, he also hoped to hear more about the stir his article was causing. He listened from the sofa where he sat in a relaxed manner and took slow sips from his cup of tea. The news item he expected was the second news item read out, but he was amazed at the new turn of events.
The Inspector General, represented by Agent Tim had debunked the news of the kidnap, adding that the woman was safe and sound. He urged the general public to stay away from unreliable news websites and blogs of hungry bloggers who fabricate cheap news to get traffic. He further stated that the pictures of the registers from the transport service were forged and that the workers there claimed not to have anyone like Mrs George patronize them. A video showing the woman in a happy shape was aired.
Dave dropped the tea cup after finishing it halfway. A worried look appeared on his face. His eyes searched around for his phone and he realized that he had left it in the room. He got up to go into his room and returned two minutes later. There were several missed calls on his phone. He had received different calls from Inspector Dakolo, several other journalists and bloggers who he knew were calling to accuse him of providing a false news item. He dialed back Inspector Dakolo’s number.
‘Dave!’ The call was answered at the first ring.
‘Sir, I woke up to see that you’ve tried to reach me.’
‘Yes, I know that you should know by now that everything has turned around.’
‘Yes, but…’ he paused and stared a bit at the television. ‘I also saw something about a false lead to Kurudu.’
‘Where are you Dave?’
‘In my apartment?’
‘Can you come down to the headquarters?’
‘The Police headquarters?’
‘No, let’s meet elsewhere. I’ll call you back when I’m ready.’
Dave dropped the phone and continued with the remaining content of the tea cup.
‘Can I leave now Inspector?’ Rex was first to talk as he saw the man wheel himself into the room.
‘Yes, I came to tell you that the way is clear,’ the Inspector General replied him. He signalled to the guard behind who had opened the door for him to close it and leave.
Rex let out a breath. His eyes met with the IG’s eyes which were focused on his face but he moved his gaze to at Stainless and made a signal to him with his eyes.
‘Did you get breakfast?’ the Inspector General asked.
‘Yes, I did.’
‘Hmm,’ the man chuckled. He expected Rex to be humble now that he had failed but he could still see the arrogance all over Rex.
‘Do you guys have any useful information?’ Rex asked Chief Rikau. He was already up on his feet and packing his things. ‘I mean the police,’ he clarified on seeing that the man didn’t know what response to give.
‘A guy came earlier claiming to have useful information. He is a member of the National Union of road transport workers from Lagos. He said the lady he drove down to Kurudu from Lagos overnight could be Samantha Osman. Her calls overnight were suspicious and he also heard her calling the police to meet them at Kurudu.’
Rex stopped all he was doing and stared intently at the man. ‘Does he have any information about her whereabouts?’
‘Sadly, he doesn’t. But he said she met with two people at Kurudu and gave them her bags, a man and a lady.’
Rex calculated in his mind the sensibility of the information he was getting. She didn’t show up or take any action throughout the night, could it be because she was in Lagos the day before, just like Henry E.G had said she wasn’t in town. And maybe that was equally the reason she decided to pull the rumour stunt to destroy his plans. But how did she get the pictures of the transport service registers showing the date and Mrs George’s name? He asked himself. She could have only gotten that if she was in Abuja. It began to make more sense. She didn’t take any action neither did she send Cole or anybody else that was working with her to do anything, but she could have sent someone to the motor service to get the register, and that was what they did instead of following Henry to Kurudu to support him. The transport man who showed up at the Police’s claimed Samantha met with two people at Kurudu and gave them bags. Maybe it was that morning they planned to launch an attack on him.
‘D–n it!’ he cursed aloud. He would have waited for her at Kurudu but he never thought she would appear again, there was no way she could have defeated him with her men. He had set up facilities and weapons to ensure her capture. The only thing that could have restrained him was the police which she invited to Kurudu.
‘What Rex? What?’ the Inspector General barked at him, feeling disrespected and ignored.
Rex gave the man a cold stare. ‘Let’s get the hell out of here,’ he said to Stainless.
A delicious aroma was what woke Henry. He found himself sprawled on the floor of the living room. Only Cole was still there with him, sleeping on the sofa but was wide awake. He sat up and yawned. It was afternoon already.
He got up and stretched as he walked. He traced the aroma to the dining room and found Omotara there seated with Tomi and eating. He could see two other plates served, his and Cole’s.
Two hours later, everyone had eaten and had freshened up. Tarasha requested that they had a brief discussion before they all continued with their rests which she knew they may still need to get more of.
She sat at the sofa by the left. Cole sat at the three seater in the middle, Henry at the one seater beside Tomi and Tomi on the one seater facing Tarasha directly. All had their faces turned to Tarasha. The whole place was dead silent.
‘Today, we escaped narrowly. That news saved us. It could be because of carelessness on their part or the hardwork of the journalist even though now he or she would be facing queries as the government have turned his report to a lie. If Rex had been at that place when I came, I would have given him a good fight but he was readier than I was and he had the location set up, he had that advantage. But that’s why I involved the police, to distract him and shake his plan a bit. There was no fight at the end, he probably left it for another day or was ordered to retreat by his sponsors. But we have to tighten up now and get ready for the other day coming. Rex is not our target, we have no business with him but since he’s a barrier, we’ll make plans for him. We’re taking things one after the other but not slowly. Our targets are Vice President and the Inspector General. The strategy to get them is not fully made up yet, in fact not up to twenty percent. But we now have our weak links closed, Rex cannot intimidate anyone using their families anymore, and then we have a new asset.’ Tarasha paused and moved her gaze from one person to the other, she balanced her gaze on Tomi. ‘That asset is you, no one knows about you with us and we can still use your real identity without needing a disguise.’
She looked away from Tomi and stood up. ‘Like I said, we have our weak links closed. We only need to finish up our strategy and I’ll be leaving Abuja again tomorrow for this cause.’ she stopped and began to look at each one’s face one after the other. ‘The most important thing we need to do now is to ensure we don’t create any link for the enemy to come in.’
Location: The Presidential Villa. Aso Rock, Abuja.
Time : 3:32pm
On a large dining table, there were assorted dishes and drinks. Seven men were seated around it. President Emeka sat at the middle, three people including the Vice President at the left and three others at the right. The other five people at the table included elder statesmen and politicians. They dined quietly and exchanged jokes occasionally. There had been a two hours meeting earlier where they discussed several issues affecting the country and decided to wrap up the meeting with lunch.
‘Will you be contesting for President next year?’ one of the men seated at the right asked, looking straight at the Vice President with a serious expression on his face.
The Vice President spilled the drink in his hand as the question met him by surprise. They had all finished eating already.
‘Sorry,’ Chief Elvis Richard apologized as he wiped the table with a napkin. His mind searched for the right answer to give. The truth was that he had the Presidency in mind but had never made his intention known public and wasn’t ready to say it until the last minute.
He looked up after folding the napkin back to shape. All eyes were on him. He cleared his throat. ‘I do really think so sir,’ he finally replied. ‘Yes, I think I would love to continue the good work President Emeka has been doing.’
‘Nice.’ Another man commented. He was the President of the country years ago, now in his old age.
The place was dominated by silence.
The man who had asked the question was Chief Afeez Abdulkadir, a retired politician, stinkingly rich and highly respected in the country. His age could not really be told from his looks but with his experience and how long he had been on the scene, one could guess he was in his eighties or probably early nineties. He still had a strong figure, clear voice and manageable vision. He never contested for the office of the President during his days but he was influential and his say always affected the elections in different states. For several years he had been quiet and living his life peacefully. He never really got close to any President except for Emeka who once worked as the CEO of one of his companies.
Elvis Richards also greatly feared and respected the man. He had gotten the opportunity of working with the man closely during his career in the security force and he knew how secretly powerful this man was, especially in the northern region where he was from and which was the most populated region of the country. He knew how the man’s opinion could affect his chances of being the President.
‘Have you ever made your intentions know to anyone?’ Chief Abdulkadir asked.
‘Not until now sir. We’ve been so busy with the progress activities in the nation that I hardly have time to think about this or talk about next year elections.’
Chief Abdulkadir licked his lips gently. He picked a glass of water and drank a little. ‘I was just thinking about the recent security issues, the assassinations and the attempt, the trial on your life. Could they be political? Could it be that someone sees you as a potential candidate and a threat to him?’
There was silence for a couple of seconds.
‘But I never mentioned this out, I hardly even had time to think about it.’ Elvis Richards said in a thoughtful tone.
‘You don’t need to say anything about it, people are watching you and they know your potentials.’ Chief Abdulkadir said.
President Emeka comes in, ‘But sir, in recent times. We have not really had any case of political assassinations. Our elections have been an example to other African countries and the world.’
‘Yes, your excellency.’ Chief Abdulkadir courtesied. ‘There has not been any case of political assassination recently, it doesn’t mean there were no intentions. And you see, since the outside world began to term our country as developed or close to being developed and our security and military became tight, it’s difficult for an attempt to be made. And you’ll agree with me that the recent assassinations were well strategized and must have been heavily paid for.’
Everyone on the table nodded thoughtfully in agreement with his words.
‘We need to watch it carefully. I think we need to beef up security as the elections draws nearer. Several people have come out to state their intentions to contest and we need to prevent a case where there would be bloodshed.’
‘Hmm… Thank you sir for bringing this up,’ President Emeka smiled thoughtfully.
Cole smiled at the image of man formed in the mirror. He had just had a shave, so his beards and the hair on his head were neater. He had chosen for the date a black jean jacket, a blue v-necked top underneath and a black shredded jean trousers. He decided to maintain his normal ‘bad boy’ look instead of trying to impress by dressing like a gentleman.
He sat at the edge of the bed and slipped on his sneakers. His phone began to ring as he fixed the lace, Patricia was calling. He left the lace and reached for his phone by the pillow side.
‘I just wanted to find out if you are through from work,’ he said into the phone. He knew she was calling back because she had seen his missed call.
‘Yes, I am. I was trying to get a cab when you called then.’
‘So, where are you? Should I come and pick you there?’
‘No, don’t bother. I’m at home already. I just need a few minutes to change my dress.’
‘Okay, I’ll be at your estate gate in twenty minutes.’
He sat back at the edge of the bed after cutting the call. He finished up with his shoe lace quickly and proceeded to the door with the car key. The door flung open as he got there, narrowly missing his face.
‘Tomi, hey! You should knock,’ Cole shot her a cold look.
She ignored him and sized him up from head to toe with her eyes. ‘Where are you going to?’ she asked with a dominating tone of a mum questioning her son. She moved a step back and placed her hand on her waist.
‘When did I become accountable to you?’
She stared at him silently for a moment. She then blinked and let out a breath. ‘Why have you been avoiding me?’
‘Avoiding you?’ he gave her a side look. ‘To my knowledge, we see and work together everyday, how can I avoid you?’
‘You know what I’m talking about Cole,’ she eyed him wickedly.
‘Don’t you get tired?’ he asked raising his brow. ‘Well, you can see I was on my way out before you showed up.’
He pulled the door handle to close it as he stepped out. She gave way.
‘So, the boss travelled today and you’re going clubbing again tonight?’ she turned and watched as he walked away.
‘It’s none of your business. The boss never stops me from clubbing even when she’s around.’
He walked on without turning to give her another look.
Location : Fadel Cool Creamery, Asokoro
35 minutes later.
‘Wow! I never knew this place was this beautiful,’ Patricia exclaimed, looking around the place admiringly.
‘I’m glad you like it,’ he smiled as he saw the ecstacy in her eyes.
She stopped looking around and turned back to meet his smiling face, he kept his gaze on her face without blinking.
‘What?’ she asked with a laugh. He wouldn’t stop staring at her.
‘D–n it! I can’t contain your beauty,’ Victor let out with a long breath. Her beauty that night was truly different. It had taken him great effort to take his eyes off her and focus on the road while driving to the place.
He had gotten to the estate gate before her and stood outside his car to wait for her arrival. He was stunned when she showed up at the gate. She was putting on a perfectly fitted cream coloured gown with flowery design all over, it stopped slightly above her knees. Her makeup was noticeable but modest and perfect for her face. He also noticed she had changed her hairstyle into a longer one. She was totally different from the kind of girls he was used to. The girls he hanged out with were always either sluttishly dressed or like gangsters. This was totally different and it had a different effect on him.
‘Come on, would you stop saying that. You’ve said it so many times today already,’ she chuckled with her response.
The attendant arrived with a tray containing two cups of cold refined milk and snacks.
‘Well, I tried to reach you yesterday. Your number was switched off all through.’ she said after the attendant left.
‘Oh, yes. It was, I had a problem with my phone.’ Victor lied. ‘You were the first person I called after fixing it this morning.’
He had turned on the phone at Kurudu on Tarasha’s order (to turn off everything that could be used to trace them) and forgot to turn on it after they got to the base. When he finally remembered at night, he decided to secure the IMEI of the phone before using it again. He secured it that night, making it and anything used with it untraceable.
‘That was around six am, how did you finish fixing it at that time?’ she asked.
‘Ermm… I have good knowledge of phones, so I did it myself, that morning. No need for repairers.’ he said with a proud smile.
‘Wow! So you’re handy too?’
‘Yes, I learnt that at a very young age.’
‘Oh well, it’s good.’
They stopped taking for a brief moment and engaged themselves with the milk. The sweetness of the milk could be seen in the smiles on their faces after taking the first spoon each.
‘It’s actually my first time of coming here too, I only dropped by once to get a cup of milk for my sister.’ Victor confessed.
‘Your sister must have taste for good things,’ Patricia put in. ‘Did her husband or hubby use to bring her here?’
‘I can’t tell, I don’t know where she does her dates. She isn’t married yet,’ Victor said.
‘What about you?’
He smiled at her. ‘Are you asking if I’m married?’
‘Of course, I’m not.’ he said, raising up his fingers to show the absence of a ring. ‘You thought I could be married?’
‘What about your girlfriend?’ she ignored his question.
‘Girlfriend? I don’t have a girlfriend.’
‘Oh! Your ex, what happened with her?’ Patricia asked.
He paused a bit and stared at her. She could see the uneasiness on his face.
‘Oh! Sorry I asked that,’ she apologized.
‘It’s nothing, I really never had an ex.’
‘Huh?’ she shone her eyes widely at him.
He felt a bit embarrassed. He had only loved once in his lifetime, in his first year at the university and never really dated the girl. He didn’t know how to tell her he never had a girlfriend but only bed partners.
‘You never had a girlfriend, are you a monk?’
He laughed loudly and relaxed his back, shaking his spoon playfully in his hand. ‘It’s not like that. I had one in school but…’ he struggled to find words to form a lie.
‘She broke your heart?’
‘No, things didn’t just work out.’
‘And then, how many years now? You locked your heart?’
He leaned forward and placed his spoon into the cup. He put his elbows on the table and rested his chin in his palms. ‘I didn’t, it got locked by itself.’
‘Then open it,’ she said nonchalantly as she took a spoonful of iced milk.
‘You opened it already,’ he said calmly, looking thinly into her eyes. She didn’t seem to hear the last thing he said. ‘I’m in love with you Pat,’ he said, in a voice loud enough for people at the neighbouring tables to hear.
Location : Gravl Avenue, Ikeja Lagos .
‘Tarasha, I’ve been expecting you.’ Chief Gab looked up as she walked into the small living room he met with her some days ago. ‘I thought you weren’t coming today anymore.’ he said as he rose up from the two seater sofa.
She approached him and received the handshake he offered to her. ‘I’m sorry Chief, I couldn’t come by air today because it might be unsafe and I also had to do some things around town before coming here.’
She was dressed in a simple fashion. A grey top on a black jean trousers, shredded slightly at both knees. She had a bag hanging from her shoulder slantingly down and the weight resting on one side of her waist.
‘It’s okay, please seat.’ he said and sat back into the sofa. She pulled out a tablet device from her bag and sat right beside him.
‘So when are you leaving the country?’ she asked.
‘I’m leaving very early tomorrow morning and that’s why I was eager to meet you tonight and tell you what you asked me for.’ the man replied, looking at her face.
The feeling was odd. They had never been so close, on the same seat, without so much space between them. The arrangement was like a father and daughter discussion and it made Chief Gab remember his children and his first wife, the family he lost several years ago in the fight for his life. He had given up on life then but somehow his life refused to end and he made it out of prison alive.
For a second, he remembered his late daughter, she would have been a few years older than Tarasha if she were alive but the enemies took her, her siblings and her mother.
‘So, what do you have for me?’ Tarasha asked. She noticed tears in the man eyes, he turned to wipe it off. A mocking smile appeared on her face and she chuckled. She understood it was her closeness to him that stirred the emotion. ‘Hey! I’m getting you emotional?’ she said as she got up from the seat. ‘Badass like you, but not lewd, that’s strange.’
She moved away and sat at the one seater adjacent the his seat. He had surprised her with the tears. She sat beside him for the purpose of ease when using her tablet device for their discussion. The normal feeling that got stirred in the other men she tried it with was lust, but they wouldn’t make any attempt because of the graveness of the discussion.
‘Sorry about that but I just remembered my family, the ones Elvis and his friends killed.’ Chief Gab said in a voice filled with emotions. ‘Can I make a request?’
She raised a brow. ‘Yea?’
‘Can you come back here?’ he asked, referring to the seat she left.
She gave him a weird look. Then a scornful smile appeared on her face and she let out a mocking laugh. She imagined how he felt and found it funny that he wanted to have her sit close to him like a family member. However, she got up and granted his request. It felt weird. She could feel him hold his breath. She suddenly began to feel pity for him and wished she could return his feelings. But she chuckled again on a second thought, it was funny and strange to her. Then the mockery on her face disappeared, she suddenly remembered what it felt like loosing a family.
‘Did you have a daughter?’ she asked.
‘Yes, I did.’
Tarasha thought for a moment and then looked at him again. ‘Would you have sent her to kill like me if she was alive?’
There was silence. All the emotions suddenly disappeared. Chief Gab returned to his normal crooked self. He got up and let out a scornful laughter as he walked towards the window. He considered himself as wicked and deserving wickedness but he was d–n sure Elvis Richards had no right to the happiness and good life he was enjoying as the Vice President. His determination to see Elvis Richards die a terrible death was rekindled again.
‘I was doing all I did to secure a future for my family,’ he said, turning towards her. ‘But what I do today is what Elvis Richards turned me to.’
Tarasha turned on the tablet device in her hands. ‘Let’s go back to business. We agreed you’ll do a check on the Doctor for me.’
‘Yes, I did. I found out where he lives now and I have the address with me,’ Chief Gab paused and took some steps closer. ‘But I was wrong about some of the things I said.’
‘Does he live in Lagos?’
‘No, he stays in Nnewi, that’s where he moved to after his retirement. I also heard he divorced his wife a year before retiring, all these he did secretly.’
‘Nnewi, is that in the East?’
‘Yes, Anambra State precisely. He has several houses in Anambra State, but the one he resides is Nnewi. He has an Hospital in Ngozika Estate.’
‘What else did you find out?’
‘Well, good enough. I converted some of the documents you sent and I have three here,’ she got up and sat on the arm of the chair. She placed the device on her lap and began to scroll. ‘I need clarification on two of them and I need you to make changes to one.’
Just as Cole turned off the engine, the phone placed on the seat beside him began to ring. He smiled on seeing the caller’s ID and quickly reached for the phone.
‘I just drove in now,’ he said into the phone.
‘Okay, I wanted to find out if you have gotten home.’
‘Thank you, just allow me settle in, we’ll chat better.’
‘Yea, I’ll send you a message.’
He hung up and squeezed the phone in his palm. He closed his eyes and let out a breath. His fingers reached for his lips to check if they were swollen. He had not kissed anyone so passionately like he did with her that night.
From the creamery, they had moved to the night park, holding hands as they walked. They spent time together on the decorated bamboo seat, enjoying the gentle breeze and the scent of the atmosphere. There, she had laid his head on his chest and whispered that she loved him too. This kiss started, gently but it became fiercer. They would have proceeded to something deeper if they weren’t in public. Cole wanted all of her and couldn’t get her out his mind.
He wondered how the EasyShoppers girl who he had seen as a cheap s–t at first and only wanted to have a taste of her ‘rich assets’ had now taken complete control of his mind.
‘You didn’t stay overnight today?’
Cole looked up at the sound of the voice and a sudden sadness overcame him as he met Tomi at the balcony of the house.
‘What’s your business with when I come in?’ he asked as he approached the main door.
‘I’m just showing care, is that wrong?’ she asked in a defensive voice.
‘Thank you but it’s not necessary,’ he said and stopped in front of her. She was blocking the entrance.
Both stared at his other’s faces for a moment.
‘I’ve missed you Cole,’ Tomi said, folding her lips in.
‘We see everyday, why should you miss me?’ he tried to move forward but she still stood in his way. ‘What’s the matter?’
She frowned. ‘You are the matter,’ she said accusingly. ‘Am I not good enough? Why are going to meet other girls outside?’
Cole stopped to look at her, he shook his head and let out a chuckle. ‘What makes you I met any other girl outside?’
‘I don’t have to think before I know, I can perceive a lady’s perfume all over your body.’
Cole blinked at the revelation. He couldn’t perceive what she talked about but he knew Patricia’s perfume was good enough to have rubbed up on him.
‘I do different girls at the clubs and brothels, you’ve always known me, haven’t you? Why is it a problem for you now?’
Tomi shrugged. ‘Well, it’s not my problem. But I know you’re not coming from the club.’ she stopped and looked up at the sky as if to check the time. ‘This time is too early to come from the club and I know the smell of someone from the club,’ she raised her nose. ‘If you went to the club truly, you’d be smelling of beer, cigarettes and maybe weed, Cole, I know you.’
Cole was shaking his head already in disgust. ‘Tomi, let me go in. I’m very tired.’
She stared at him for a moment, hissed and finally gave way for him to pass. He walked into the house, leaving her standing at the entrance with her arms folded across her chest.
‘Is there any problem?’ Henry was approaching the entrance and met Cole walking in. He was attracted by their voices at the door.
‘Nothing bro,’ Cole sighed and walked on while Henry proceeded to the door to meet Tomi who still stood there sulking.
Jumoke’s residence, Lagos.
‘D–n! The guy is sick, he keeps annoying me more everyday.’ Dave smiled as he read the new WhatsApp message. He adjusted himself properly and began to type a reply with the phone in his right hand.
He was in the bed with Jumoke, both of them naked under the sheet. She had her head resting on his chest and her hands wrapped around him. She seemed to be sleeping peacefully.
‘He must have done stupid things for you to complain so bitterly,’ he sent his reply with a ‘grin’ smiley.
‘He wouldn’t allow me breath, his mouth was all over mine and he wasn’t willing to stop.’ her reply entered seconds after.
Dave felt a bit uncomfortable with her message. He wondered why she was describing the kiss and hoped she wasn’t going to proceed to what was done in the bed, if that ever happened. That was the awkward nature of their job. He himself was with someone else and had done worse with her body in the last few minutes. Their bosses never encouraged sexual acts directly during course of an undercover investigation, in fact they publicly condemned it and called it immoral but would still go ahead to give them tactics and targets that could only be achieved through it.
He replied her message with a smiley carrying a blank expression. She was typing already when the words to send came to his mind.
‘He requested for us to meet again tomorrow but I told him I’ll be busy till Saturday.’ her message entered before he could finish typing his message.
He quickly deleted the words he already typed as they weren’t appropriate anymore.
‘That’s fair enough. I hope it wasn’t too stressful today combining your work with his date.’ he typed and sent.
‘Not bad though, I’ll be busier tomorrow.’
‘Okay, it’s good you refused his offer for tomorrow but did you make any progress?’
‘Not really, but I made an attempt.’
‘Can you brief me about it?’
‘I got to use his phone today, I pretended I liked it and wanted to see the features. He unlocked it for me but he didn’t stay away from me for long, except when he got up to pay the bills. So I was only able to check through the contacts and I didn’t find any other person’s number except mine.’ Her reply entered but it was signified below that she was still typing.
‘That means he doesn’t use the phone for anything else except you.’ Dave sent while she still typed the continuation.
‘I also saw the protection seal icon, I think he just put his sim in the phone and as long as that sim is there, we can’t track him with it anymore.’ her message entered and another followed immediately after. ‘Yes, he uses the phone to communicate with me only.’
‘Okay, I understand why I couldn’t track him earlier today when he was calling you.’
Dave started to type again when the lady lying on his body turned.
‘What are you doing?’ she rose up and sat on his waist region, displaying her bare chest to him.
‘Just replying some few emails,’ he replied and quickly exited the messaging app. He dropped the phone beside the pillow.
Her fingers were caressing his chest again. It seemed she was ready for another round. He stopped her hands and pulled her face closer instead, covering her mouth with his.
He let her go after some minutes. ‘You were supposed to tell me something about Samantha Osman,’ he reminded her.
The atmosphere changed immediately. She climbed down the bed and walked to the water dispenser to take a cup of water. Dave sat up and stared at her while she gulped it down.
She covered herself with a towel before she began to talk. ‘Samantha Osman was here once,’ she began with a shocker.
‘Huh? Where?’ his eyes widened at her as he sat at the edge of the bed and placed his feet on the floor, using the sheets to cover his nakedness.
‘In this house,’ she replied.
Dave’s face was full of surprise, it looked like he couldn’t take it. He had thought she was going to talk about meeting Samantha in the hospital or something regarding the assasin that had happened in the hospital after she brought Stephanie George and the old couples there.
‘She had a gunshot wound I treated,’ Jumoke continued. ‘I met her needing help, outside the gate after the hospital incident, that night you promised to come late but later sent a message at midnight and…’
‘How did you know it was her?’ Dave cut in.
‘She told me…’
‘She introduced herself as Samantha Osman?’
‘No, she told me she recognized me from the hospital, that she was the one who brought in Stephanie George.’
Dave stared at her thinly for a while, still with doubts in his heart.
‘How did she make her way here?’
‘I don’t know, I found her outside. I saw her car by the fence and thought it was yours but as I got closer, I saw a girl on the floor by the fence side, looking lifeless, I thought she was dumped there and decided to help when I discovered she was still breathing.’
Dave took another pause to assimilate the information. He remembered that day vividly. It was the night the NIS Chairman called him and asked for him to be at the NIS office in Abuja before dawn. He wondered what could have happened if he did not heed the man’s call that night. Would that have been the end of Samantha Osman? Could he have arrested her that night?
‘So you helped her with a bullet would?’ he asked in a surprise tone.
‘Yes, I did.’
‘How can you? A bullet wound? Without involving the police?’ he reprimanded in a loud voice.
She widened her eyes in surprise at his words and the rage she could see on his face. She was dumbstruck. How can he who comes to her severally with such wounds to treat blame her for treating another person who needed help?
‘But how was I supposed to know she was Samantha Osman?’
‘You are a nurse, ain’t you? I shouldn’t be the one to educate you on the ethics of your job. You don’t treat a bullet wound without getting a go ahead from the police.’
‘Stop talking to me like a kid Dave,’ she flared up. ‘She would have died that day if I didn’t help her.’
‘Are you listening to yourself? You helped a criminal!’
‘Yes, I’ve treated another male criminal with bullet wounds on more than one occasion!’ she shouted back at him.
‘Huh? Another criminal?’ he reduced his voice and narrowed his eyes.
‘Yes Dave, I always treat you when you come to me without involving the police. On the first day we met, I helped you and you didn’t die because I didn’t wait for the police.’
‘But I’m not a criminal.’ he said in low tones, almost whispering.
‘How was I supposed to know that the girl was Samantha Osman, a criminal? All I know is that I couldn’t have watched her die to start regretting later that I could have saved a life.’
Dave was quiet for some seconds. He had no right to blame her. She had been carrying out the illegal act with him before and he never complained until she helped someone else.
‘I’m sorry,’ he apologized with a sorry look. He picked his shorts on the floor beside the bed and got up to put it on. ‘I’m sorry for talking to you that way,’ he apologized again, now leaning against the drawer beside the bed. ‘It’s just that thinking of all the damage Samantha Osman has caused, she doesn’t really deserve any help…’
‘Who made you a judge?’ she cut in.
There was total silence for some seconds.
‘I know I’m not supposed to judge, but then…’ Dave was short of words to explain himself. He just couldn’t get over the fact that he missed an opportunity to have met directly with Samantha Osman.
‘She didn’t look like a bad person to me,’: Jumoke continued to speak with a blank expression on her face. ‘She looked harmless and dangerous.’
‘Don’t say that,’ Dave cautioned. For a second, he wondered if Jumoke really knew what she was talking about. Stephanie George had also said the same thing about Samantha. ‘Most criminals are like that, they look like they can’t hurt a fly but they’re so deadly.’
‘You seem to know a lot about criminals,’ she gave him a suspicious look.
‘Yes, I told you I’m a journalist and that I major in exposing top criminal cases. I sure know a lot about criminals.’
She sighed. ‘She warned me not to mention my experience with her to anyone.’
‘Did she call you after that day?’
‘No, she dropped a note saying I should erase her completely from my mind.’
‘And you’ve not heard from her since then?’
There was a brief silence. Jumoke seemed to be thinking on the possible dangers of what she was doing.
‘I’m scared Dave,’ she said in a weak voice. ‘She looked harmless but I’m scared of her warning and all I hear about her.’
‘Hey! You don’t need to be, she’s not everywhere.’ Dave encouraged. He walked to where she was standing against the wall and wrapped his hands around her shoulders. ‘Think about it, she’s not God, she can’t be everywhere, there’s no way she’s going to know you told me except you tell someone else.’
‘But… But you’re a journalist, what if she finds out through what you report or write about her?’
‘I’m not a fool, Jummy, I know how to play my games.’
‘I’m scared,’ she repeated shakily.
He pulled her with him to the bed and sat her down. He sat beside her and faced her.
‘Look here, one of the things criminals used in covering their trails is making empty threats to victims which will never make the victims open their mouths. What you know might just be the only thing that can bring her down.’
‘But I don’t know anything about her, I only met her once.’
‘Just tell me everything surrounding your meeting with her, you don’t know what I can be able to deduce from what you tell me.’
She took in a long breath. Dave squeezed her palms in his to encourage her.
‘I’m only going to talk because I want you to get done with her case and be here with me, not because I want her caught.’ she said in a warning tone.
‘Just talk dear,’ he urged.
‘She sent me money after some days.’
‘What?’ Dave’s eyes widened.
‘I didn’t ask her for money,’ Jumoke quickly added.
‘Of course, I know you didn’t ask her.’ he said and placed a hand on her shoulder in a reassuring manner, encouraging her to continue talking.
‘A text message came in after the alert saying it was a refund for the expenses I made and my clothes which she took with her.’
‘Do you still have the text message?’
‘I deleted it, she included it in the message that I shouldn’t keep it.’
‘Oops!’ Dave ran his fingers into his hair.
‘But there was no number, I checked.’
‘Okay, she must have protected the source of the message.’ Dave said. He stared at her with an encouraging look for her to continue.
‘That’s all, I never heard from her again.’
There was a long silence. Dave pondered on the information he had gotten deeply. There were two things he needed to know now; the sender of the money into Jumoke’s bank account and how Samantha had found her way to Jumoke. He feared in his mind that it had been through him. Maybe Samantha knew him somehow. He couldn’t ascertain but he knew it was a dangerous situation if it was true.
‘So, the only thing I need from you now is the date you got the money and your bank account details.’ he said to Jumoke.
Her eyes widened in fear. She tried to talk but he placed a finger on her lips. ‘Shhh… Don’t be afraid, no one will know about you.’
Cole woke up to a text message notification on his phone. He smiled as he reached out for it, thinking about his last night out with Patricia. The text message was from Tarasha. It read;
‘Can you suggest a good barbing saloon for me? I need to use one before my flight to the East today .’
He quickly rolled out of the bed and began to think. Tarasha had passed two messages in one – she wanted him to suggest a good barbing saloon and also informed him that she was traveling to the East. He had no idea what she was going to do there but he knew there was going to be work to do, both for him and for her.
Chapter 12 part 1&2
Location : Ngozika Estate, Awka. Anambra State
April 22, 2031
The hospital was a usually busy one but at this time of the day, there was very little going on. The opposite will be the case in ten hours time. It would be evening then and the nurses on duty would be so busy that they would have no time to even glance at the television. It was EKME HOSPITAL, one of the biggest private hospitals in town and the biggest in the estate. Founded twelve years ago, the hospital was known for it’s good services and inexpensive charges. Even with the large facility and high cost of maintenance, it still posed a relatively low burden on patients and their families. The hospital was owned by Dr Martin Ekwueme who founded it after his legal retirement. He had claimed to establish the hospital with the money paid him at retirement but everyone knew establishing the hospital cost more than that. And even with the low charges made, a lot of profit was still being made.
‘Dad, I think you should just go and rest at the house in Nnewi. You shouldn’t have come here at all.’
That was Martin Ekwueme jnr, the first son of Dr Martin Ekwueme who graduated as a Mechanical Engineer. He worked in the city of Port Harcourt in an oil company and had come to Anambra to visit his mother who was on a short visit to Nigeria. She had moved to the United Kingdom to live with their last born some years ago and both of them had come to Nigeria for a short stay.
Their parents had separated a year before Dr Ekwueme’s retirement based on ‘irreconcilable differences’. It had come as a shock to everyone. After over thirty years of marriage with no notable or significant disagreements, the couple had decided to part ways without giving any reasons apart from irreconcilable differences’ and incompatibility. Their children had been surprised the most and all efforts made by them to identify the problem and fix the marriage proved futile. The woman kept telling the kids that their father was wicked but gave them no reasons for saying so with the excuse that she did not want them to hate their own father, while the Doctor himself remained quiet and gave no reason no matter how pressured he was.
‘Son, I will take a rest. I just had to come today. I only come to the hospital on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and a lot of people would be expecting me, it won’t be nice if I don’t show up.’
‘But you shouldn’t do it to the detriment of your own health, you should have rested at home today, you’re not looking healthy at all. I thank God Tracy hinted me that you weren’t feeling fine.’
‘Have you seen Tracy after she left here?’
‘No, she called me on phone and told me she with you since last night.’
‘I had a nice time talking with her after so many years,’ the man said with a deep breath. Tracy was the name of the family’s last born.
‘Don’t shift the focus Dad, we’re talking about your health here.’
The argument in Dr Martin Ekwueme’s office continued. The man who had a tall and moderately sized body was seated on the swivel behind the table, he had some medical files in his hand and his eyeglasses on. His son, Junior was standing close to the door, his hand on the knob but facing back towards his father. He had been like that for several minutes. He wanted to leave the office but the talk with his father had not let him proceed.
‘I’m not staying for long today, just two hours more and I’ll be going back home.’ the man explained to his son.
‘You should just go to Nnewi when you leave here, don’t stay in the house here.’ Martin jnr said in a calm voice.
‘I really don’t want to go to Nnewi except your mother would come there to see me, it reminds me of her so much.’ Dr Martin said in a soft tensed tone.
Martin was about to turn the knob but his father’s word stopped him. He took his fingers off the knob and turned back to look at his father. He then exhaled and inhaled deeply before proceeding back to the table.
‘Mother doesn’t want to see you,’ he said in a sad tone as he sat in one of the visitor’s seat behind his father’s table. ‘I don’t know but…’ he stopped and look at his father’s face.
‘Go on son, spill it, don’t be scared to hurt me. I’m already an injured man.’ the man said with so much pain in his eyes and voice.
‘I don’t know why you would never tell us the reason for your separation but mum seems to grow her hatred for you everyday.’ he stopped and paused to see if his words had not hit the man badly. He continued on seeing that the man took it calmly, ‘She doesn’t want you to know her movements and doesn’t want to come to around here just because of you, she’ll be going to Lagos in two days time, after finishing what she came to do in the village and from there she’ll travel back to the UK.’
‘Son, please can you do something for me?’ the man with a pitiful look. The boy’s attention was on him. ‘Can you talk your mother into seeing me, even if it’s for thirty minutes?’
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‘Daddy, that would be difficult.’ Martin sighed bitterly. Then he looked his father in the eyes, ‘If only you would tell me the problem, we, your kids can resolve it if you open up to us.’
The man gave a gasp of exasperation and fell back in the chair. ‘She would hate me more if I tell you,’ he said with his eyes closed. ‘She would hate me.’
Martin had a confused look on his face. He tried to speak but no words came out.
‘Look at me son, I didn’t develop any fever. The fever excuse is a lie. What’s making me look sick is because of the worries I’ve had since I heard of her presence in Nigeria. I’m in a tight condition now and I have some challenges that only her can help me with.’ Dr Ekwueme confessed.
Martin jnr stared at his father’s face for a while. ‘You said she would hate you more if you open up to us?’
‘Argh!’ Dr Ekwueme suddenly grabbed his head and his face squeezed in pain, almost falling from the chair.
Martin got on his feet immediately and rushed to help his father.
‘Don’t come!’ Dr Ekwueme raised his hand in the air to stop his son who had already turned to the other side of the table. He struggled to sit up.
‘Dad, I need to call one of the Doctors to see you.’ Martin said with a worried look on his face as he helped his father back on the swivel properly.
‘No,’ Dr Ekwueme held his hand to stop him from going. ‘There’s no need for that, no Doctor can help me, only your mother can,’ he said, looking deeply into his son’s eyes.
Martin stared at his face for a while. The man was sitting up and his face was relaxed again.
‘I’m going to bring mum to you today, but on the condition that you’ll follow what I say. I will take you to Dr Dorcas and we will go to the house from there.’
‘Dr Dorcas says you need a lot of rest, I think we have to go to Nnewi from here.’ Martin Jnr said as he walked with his father along the corridor in the hospital.
‘I still have some of my things in the house here, I think I should just rest for some hours. When you come back from seeing your mother, you can take me to Nnewi. I’m sure your mother must be waiting for you now.’
‘Okay then, I have to tell them to keep an eye on you there.’
‘I don’t need anyone to look after me son, I know well how to manage myself.’ the man said. He stopped and squinted as they got to the entrance of the corridor. ‘What’s that?’ he said. He could hear a sound of people arguing. ‘The nurses at the reception are at it again,’ he frowned his face bitterly. He always hated it when the nurses were idle.
They walked out of the corridor into the reception and met the nurses arguing with a young woman.
‘You cannot just see him, you have to see another Doctor.’ the Matron said in a loud voice to the young lady, oblivious of Dr Martin Ekwueme’s presence.
‘Well, then I’ll wait for him or come back tomorrow when you can fix an appointment with him.’ the young lady replied in a calm voice, not like one who was arguing.
‘We won’t fix an appointment with him for you, there are other doctors who can see you and if you’re not ready, you leave or I’ll get the security for you.’ the Matron threatened.
‘I still think you should tell him someone wants to see him, he might make out time to see me.’ the young lady argued.
‘What’s happening here?’ Dr Ekwueme spoke, bringing everyone’s attention to him.
‘Oh! Good morning sir,’ the Matron curtsied. ‘This lady I heard came here first last week Friday and requested to see you. She was told you were not available and advised to see other doctors. She refused. And when she insisted she wanted to see you, she was told that you only came on Tuesdays and Wednesdays but that you were already booked for the two days this week and even next week. But today she’s here again, asking us to tell you to make out time for her from your already booked day.’
‘It’s okay,’ Dr Ekwueme said to the Matron and turned to the young lady with an inquisitive look on his face. ‘So young lady, what’s the matter?’
‘Good afternoon Doctor,’ she greeted, bending her knees slightly. ‘I have an health issue and I. requested to see you.’
‘Okay, but we have other doctors here who can attend to you, even Doctors more efficient than I am.’
‘Yes sir, I’m aware of other doctors but I only wanted to make sure it’s you that attends to me, if only for a few minutes.’ she replied.
Dr Ekwueme paused to take a look at her. She dressed in a modest apparel, on low cut and kept a light smile on while talking to him. He seemed to be considering giving her audience.
‘You should allow other doctors see you,’ Martin jnr stepped forward to his father’s aid. ‘As you can see, he was about leaving and can’t see you this week or even next week like you’ve been told. See the other doctors if you love yourself.’
He led his father away, leaving the young lady with the nurses at the reception.
The Matron had a victorious look on her face when Tarasha looked at her. Tarasha was tempted to talk but she didn’t. She looked at the Doctor again as he walked away, he didn’t look healthy or fit to her. She had to use her plan B if she wouldn’t be able to see him until after two weeks like they said. But she loved plan A the most, she would have been able to hold him to ransom with his hospital.
‘I’m free if you want to talk to me,’ a young handsome Doctor who had been watching them offered.
She hissed and eyed him before turning away. She could hear tongues wagging and the nurses laughing at her as she walked out of the hospital.
Dr Martin Ekwueme’s Residence, Ngozika Estate
Dr Ekwueme had just finished having his lunch and was still at the dining room when a maid came to announce the arrival of his ex-wife. The news had taken him so much by surprise that he couldn’t take the drugs he was supposed to use for afternoon.
He sat there on the shiny metal and leather chair, with his plates on the table unpacked. He had been wishing to see Adaeze but now he wondered how he was going to face her. She had said to him the last time they met that she would never forgive him for all his atrocious deeds. He had never done anything against her, he loved and protected her all his life and for their thirty two years in marriage never lifted a hand against her. But her love for him disappeared when she found out his cruel deeds against humanity and the country which he claimed to love. She had said to him that she could not continue to live with such a man like him and requested for a divorce immediately paying deaf ears to his pleas and claim to have turned a new leave.
He wondered how his son had been able to convince her to see him finally after many years of pleading. And what surprised him most was that she came to him in less than five hours. His son must have said something really serious to her.
Fear gripped his heart as he heard the voice he hadn’t heard in years. She had entered into the house and was looking for him, he could tell she was already in the living room. He sat still, knowing that she was going to locate him soon.
Here she was, standing directly opposite him with an angry look on her face.
Martin closed his eyes. She was still as mad at him like she was over ten years ago when they divorced even though he still loved her like no other woman in his life. He had loved her like that and never cheated on her while they were married.
‘Martin, what is this I hear that you’ve invited all the kids to come over during the weekend so that you can tell them what transpired between us.’
He opened his eyes to look at her. She had aged just like him in the past few years but she still looked very beautiful to him even though she was in her late sixties.
He now knew what made her come so quickly to him, just hours after his son had gone to her. His son had told her that he (Martin snr) was about to tell them why she divorced him. That was it. She was still protecting him, trying to make the children not hate their father. Was that because she still had some love left for him? He asked himself.
‘I have to do it,’ he played along. ‘I have to tell them.’
‘Have you gone nuts?’ she gave him a cold look, climbing unto the dining.
‘Yes, I have. I’ve gone mad without you. I’m dying of guilt and I don’t have anyone to listen to me. I have to let it out before I die.’ he said, looking down as he couldn’t look into her eyes.
‘You’re really crazy. How can you tell your children? They would detest you.’ she said, now closer. She placed her handbag on the dining table.
‘I deserve it. Let them hate me. I brought it upon myself.’ he replied, now considering on making it real – considering telling his children if she wasn’t going to listen to him.
‘I won’t allow you do that.’ she gave him a furious look.
‘I have to tell them, I need someone to listen to me. You’ve been the one who listens to me and nobody has occupied that spot since you left twelve years ago.’
‘What exactly do you need someone to listen to?’ she queried.
‘I’m dying Ada, I know. These drugs here cannot save me.’ he raised up the nylon of drugs on the table and dropped it back. ‘I’ve been having nightmares of my death for some weeks now and it got more intense few days ago. I know I’m about to pay for my sins but I need someone to talk to before I finally die.’
‘You deserve something more than death, you did so much evil; you stained your noble profession and betrayed the trust of many in you.’
Tears began to drop form in the man’s eyes. He picked up a napkin to stop the tears.
‘Mum,’ a voice called from behind. It was that of Martin Ekwueme jnr.
‘Give me and your father some time,’ she said, turning back to Martin who was already approaching the dining.
Martin stopped and stared for a moment at his father, he could see their discussion was heated. He stared at his mum’s face for a while before walking away hesitatingly.
‘These kids must not know anything, I won’t let you pass your guilt to them.’ she continued after the boy left.
Martin Ekwueme remained silent.
‘I’ve lived with the guilt of the things you did for the past few years and it’s tormenting enough for me just knowing we used the monies you got from evil together. I don’t want you to pass the guilt to the kids, I’m protecting them from your torment.’
More tears flowed from the Doctor’s eyes. It was confirmed. She didn’t love him anymore and wasn’t protecting him, her protection was for their kids.
His life had been a disaster. The feeling of unfulfillment never left him from the day she divorced him. Even after he established the hospital and tried to get fulfillment by helping people with it, his past will not let him be. And the thoughts of what he had lost, Adaeze, the woman he had worked so hard to be able to spend the rest of his life with finally leaving him and hating him took away every room of happiness from his heart.
He knew his days were numbered. The recent nightmares had confirmed it. He was always seeing a person whose face was always covered with a mask, shooting a bullet into his head.
‘If you love your children, and I hope you do. Do not let them know about it, do not trouble their lives with your problem, allow them continue their lives and don’t put the seed of evil into them.’ Adaeze said in a concluding tone and picked her bag from the table. ‘Goodday,’ she said before storming out of the place.
‘How did it go mum?’ Martin jnr who was waiting outside walked to his mum as she came out of the house.
‘Take me back to Nibo’ she said , walking to the car. ‘I’ll call to confirm if Tracy has gotten home so she can make plans for us to leave.’
Martin froze where he was. He had expected something positive from his parent’s meeting, after over ten years that his mum agreed to meet with their father. But he was wrong, he could see from the look on her face that nothing pleasant happened between the couple. He heaved a sigh of frustration, after several years his mother was still bitter at his father and didn’t look like she was going to ever forgive him.
He finally moved from where was but he entered into the house again. He met his father still at the dining with his eyes closed and tears around the eyelids. He decided not to say anything and he quietly turned back and walked out to meet his mum in the car. They drove out of the compound few minutes later.
Dr Martin Ekwueme still remained on his seat at the dining. The maids had come to clear the used plates from the table and served some fruits. The Doctor stayed still with his eyes closed. He knew he would never see his wife again. It was the end of their love.
He remained there for several minutes, imagining how his life would be. Then suddenly, he felt a presence in the room with him. He opened his eyes and he saw his visitor. Dressed on black from head to toe, the face was also covered with a mask, there was a gun in the left hand.
He heaved a sigh. His nightmare was coming to pass.
He saw the gun raised. He was sure his death had come. He had nothing more to live for and couldn’t wait for the bullet to enter into his head.
The gun was raised. He was sure his death had come. He had nothing more to live for and couldn’t wait for the bullet to enter into his head.
The sound of the bullet released from the gun hit was drowned by the silencer. It hit the camera at the corner of the ceiling and parts of the ceiling materials fell to the ground. She lowered her gun and slowly put it into her pocket. The man still had his eyes closed. Maybe he was still expecting the bullet to run into his body, she thought to herself. But she wasn’t ready to take his life yet, she needed more from him. She had been in the house for more than thirty minutes and had come out of hiding after the doctor’s visitors had left. She had put off all the security cameras she found in the house and the security alarms and also made sure that no one was close when she decided to appear to the man.
Dr Martin opened his eyes back. He saw his guest still standing at the same spot but without the gun anymore. He had been expecting the sound of a gunshot and thought he was going to open his eyes in the underworld the next time he did but here he was, his would-be killer still wasting time in taking his life. He looked back to see the cause of the sound he heard, he saw pieces of the gadget on the floor and he traced it up, then he realized she must have shot at he camera
He noticed his guest was a female; it was obvious from the curves on her chest and the hips. He had seen a man in his dream and not a woman, maybe that was the cause for the delay of the bullet entering his head. But if she would still kill him, he didn’t know. He knew he was at her mercy, the guards at the gate would not come in for no reason and he had also sent on an errand his niece who stayed in the house with him.
He watched as she pulled off the mask from her face. He stared at her intently. She was the same girl from the hospital.
‘How did you get in?’ Dr Martin suddenly developed boldness to talk. To him, the girl he had seen in the hospital was a young innocent girl whose he thought he could break into two in a physical fight. He didn’t think he should give her more respect because she now had a gun.
Tarasha took two steps forward. She folded the mask neatly and inserted it into the inner pocket of her black leather jacket. She stared at the man’s face. She knew he had developed some boldness because he now saw her face but she was ready to make him go through pain if he didn’t give his cooperation willingly.
Location: NIS Underground Office, Asokoro, Abuja.
The beep sound from Dave’s phone temporarily distracted him from his work on the laptop. He picked it to check what the notification was for. He unlocked it and found a pop-up WhatsApp message from Lizzy.
‘Are you in the office now? I’ve checked on you before.’ the message read.
‘Yes, I returned few minutes ago.’ Dave quickly typed a reply and sent. He dropped the phone and returned to round up what he was doing on the laptop.
The phone beeped again. It took him sometime before picking it up.
‘Where do we meet?’ the new message read.
‘Can you come over to my office? My officemate has closed for the day.’ he typed in and sent.
‘Okay, I’ll be there in one minute.’ the reply entered seconds later.
He put down the phone and continued on his laptop. Lizzy got into his office within two minutes.
‘Lizzy,’ Dave welcomed her with a brief smile as she proceeded to his table.
‘How are you doing Dave?’ she asked in reply. She pulled his visitor’s chair back a little from the table before sitting on it.
‘I’m fine, how about you?’ Dave replied.
‘I’m fine too.’
‘You were out in the morning when I checked your office.’ Dave said.
‘Yes. I also checked you here when I returned. You weren’t answering your calls.’
‘Yes, I was out with the chairman. I’ve been handed another case.’
‘Alright. So what’s your message?’ she leaned forward and placed her hands his table. ‘You said it’s important we see today.’
‘Yes, I’m traveling this evening and I don’t know when I’ll be returning.’
‘A trip for the new case?’
‘No, on Samantha’s case.’ Dave turned his laptop’s to her. ‘There, I’ve been tracing a credit card transaction all day.’
‘Whose credit card is it?’ she raised a brow as she read the details on the screen. ‘This name isn’t familiar.’
‘It’s Samantha Osman. She uses multiple identities, that name is one of the identities she uses.’
‘How did you get this?’ Lizzy began to scroll down with a finger on the screen.
‘I’ll tell you,’ Dave said and turned the laptop back to himself. ‘I want to hear your experience with Victor first.’
‘Well,’ she gave a wry smile. ‘He’s been very careful.’
‘Were you with him on Saturday?’
‘Yes for several hours. We went to the cinema to see the crime thriller, “A New Creation”. He was careful throughout, he wasn’t carried away by the thrills of the movie and I couldn’t even use his device. He is also good with lies, he answered every question I asked expertly.’
‘Hmm… You just have to keep trying.’
‘I’m tired of the dunce. The lustful ways he stares at my body is annoying and I can’t wait to see him behind bars.’
‘That, I believe will happen soon.’ Dave said with a note of confidence. ‘My trip would bring us closer I can tell.’
There was a brief silence before Dave continued to speak.
‘I got to know that Samantha Osman transferred some money into a lady’s account several weeks ago. She did it anonymously but I visited the receiver’s bank to trace the source, it took me some time to link the source with this credit card I’m tracing now. I had to go to the bank that issued it to check, they even had no idea of the official records, she manipulated the bank details herself; no fingerprints, multiple bank verification numbers and pins for one account. I decided not to bother with the real name, since I knew it is none other than Samantha. But then, I discovered from her transaction history that she used the card for payment last week Thursday, payment for a flight to Anambra State. She also made bookings for an hotel room for two weeks. I can’t tell if she made the payment for herself or on behalf of her men. The thing I’m certain of is that Samantha or one of her team members is in Anambra State now and I know the hotel the person is lodged in.’
‘Wow! That’s a good one. So what time are you leaving today?.’
‘The flight is by three thirty.’
‘Don’t you think you would need backup?’
‘I thought about that already but you see, I’ve not been giving real reports to the chairman on this case. Having a backup plan from my team will give the team members too much information.’
‘So, what are you planning?’
‘The chairman knows I’m traveling to Anambra but I told him it’s just to make some enquires and interrogate some people.’
‘But it’s dangerous for you to go alone,’ Lizzy said staring at him thoughtfully.
‘Yes, I know. I would be careful.’
‘But why don’t you involve Inspector Dakolo in this? Since you trust his motives?’ she suggested.
Dave closed his eyes and took in a breath. He had not thought about the option.. Inspector Dakolo would have been of help to him in providing a backup when necessary.
‘I didn’t think about that and I could still have called him now but Inspector Dakolo doesn’t know me yet, he only thinks I’m a journalist and I don’t have enough time to start explaining things to him anymore. Besides, it’s even against our rules to reveal our identity.’
‘Well then, I wish you goodluck.’ she said with a smile and rested back in the chair.
‘Bro, what’s up with you and Tomi?’ Henry asked after closing the door of the control room.
Cole who was seated in the chair before the master computer, rested back and sighed after giving Henry a cursory glance.
‘Did she tell you anything?’ he asked as he took his fingers off the mouse.
‘No, but I can sense the ill feelings between both of you.’ Henry said as he sat on the seat beside Cole’s.
‘She’s just making things complicated. She’s trying to promote herself from the place of a sex partner.’ Cole explained with a mischievous chuckle.
‘I don’t understand.’
Cole turned to face Henry. ‘She’s beginning to claim possession of me because I sleep with her often.’
‘But why are you sleeping with her if you have no feelings for her?’
‘You should ask her that question too, we both enjoy the act and she’s even the one that pressures me for it every night.’
‘You should have refused her.’
‘Refuse a free gift?’ Cole put on an evil smile. ‘I’ve not just had time for her recently. But next time she pressures me when the boss isn’t around like this, I’m going to bang her so hard that you won’t be able to sleep because she’ll be screaming for help all through the night.’
Henry frowned. ‘Now, you’re not going to do that, are you?’
‘Just forget it bro,’ Cole dismissed the issue with a hiss. He sat up and reached for the mouse to continue his work. ‘I have some assignments from the boss.’
‘From Omotara? Where is she now and when is she coming back?’ Henry asked, now looking at what Cole was doing.
‘I don’t know when she’ll be back,’ Cole replied, deliberately ignoring the question about her location. Tarasha had asked him to kept it unknown to anyone else until there was need for backup.
‘So you want to buy a house?’ he asked. Cole was browsing a property agency website and was checking the interior of a particular house.
‘The boss is the one who needs it and I paid for it already.’ Cole replied him. He closed the tab and navigated to another website to avoid further questions.
‘Where is the location of the house?’ Henry asked, wondering what Omotara needed a new house for.
‘It’s where she is.’
Cole closed his eyes and let out a breath tiredly. ‘Henry, I’m not permitted to answer your questions. You chat with the boss, if she hasn’t told you her location. I shouldn’t be the one to tell you.’
‘Oh!’ Henry suddenly lost his voice. He had nothing else to say. He knew Omotara was up to something somewhere, he only hoped it wasn’t something that would cause the loss of the lives of innocent people.
Ngozika Estate, Awka.
‘I asked you a question young lady, how did you get in?’ the doctor asked boldly again.
Tarasha calmly pulled out the dining chair close to her and sat on it. She took out her gun and placed it on the table, to remind him that she still had it with him. She then brought out a phone and a small device which looked like a switch from her trousers’ pocket. She unlocked it and placed it on the table, she pushed it gently and it slid to the man’s side.
‘Watch the video on that phone,’ she said. The man stared at her thinly for some seconds before picking up the phone. A confused expression appeared on his face as he looked at the screen, he clicked on play.
‘I know your recognize that car,’ she said, fully aware that the man was now watching the video. ‘I hope you also recognize that apparatus you see there,’ she placed her elbows on the table and leaned forward. ‘That’s an explosive. Your first son and your ex wife are in that car now, the bomb will go off once I push this button.’ she placed her finger on the switch.
The phone dropped from the man’s hand. He was now vibrating. He wasn’t afraid of death, but he was terribly scared of losing his first son and ex-wife.
‘Young lady, what do you want?’ he asked with more reverence now.
‘I came for you, not to kill you but to take you take you with me, I need to discuss with you but we can’t do it here. My car is outside your gate and I would like you to follow me quietly.’
The man stared at her carefully for some seconds like was going to object. Then he got up to his feet slowly. ‘Take me but we have to take out that bomb from their way.’
‘That’ll be done after you comply, so lead the way,’ Tarasha got up and ushered him forward with her gun.
They walked out of the house side by side in silence. Tarasha had the switch in her hand and a finger on the button to constantly remind her not to make any funny move.
The man kept on wondering who she was as they walked out of the house. He wondered how she got into the house without the security men’s knowledge and how she was able to place the bomb into his son’s car, under the seat and even film it. But he had hopes that the two security men at the gate would come to his rescue and he wouldn’t have to go out with her.
‘Are you going out sir?’ a maid asked the man as they climbed down the verandah. He ignored her and kept on walking, taking a glance at Tarasha. Tarasha didn’t seem to be disturbed, she was relaxed, just like somebody taking a stroll with her friend.
The maid stared at them for a while, especially at the strange lady which she had not seen before. Then she walked off hurriedly, probably to gossip about the stranger and the man’s strange behavior to the other maids.
Dr Ekwueme was disappointed on getting to the gate. He continued to stare at the Security room in expectation.
‘You’re wasting time, go out.’ Tarasha said to him impatiently as she opened the gate with a hand for him. He stepped out and she stepped out after him.
‘Over there, walk faster.’ Tarasha now pointed her gun at his back. ‘Your security men can’t save you, j took care of them after your son and his mother left. They’ll be sleeping for the next two hours.’
They got to the place her car was and she opened the door for him to get in. He kept staring at the hand in which she held the switch even as he stepped into the car. She closed the door and turned to the driver’s side.
She put her gun on her left knee, the switch still in her right hand, she took out her phone again and passed it to him.
‘I want you to exit the video and check the next video , I think you’ll like to know that I met your beautiful daughter today and she’s in my care right now.
The man stared at her with unbelieving eyes. He was sure she didn’t know what she was saying. His daughter had come to see him that morning, few hours before her elder brother, Martin Jnr arrived and she had told him she going back home to meet her mother. He exited the video and opened the next. He was shocked at what he saw. His last born was in a room alone, sweating furiously and her whole body tied to a chair. Her mouth was covered with a band but her eyes were left open.
Crescent Moon Hotel
The man looked around as they drove into the hotel compound. He wondered what she had brought him there for. She had been quiet all through the drive. The bomb switch was now placed on the dashboard of the car and her gun hidden in her pocket.
His phone began to ring as he turned off the car engine after parking properly in the garage. She placed her gaze on him and he stared back at her shakily. He didn’t want her to know he had a phone with him.
‘Who’s the caller?’ she asked.
He took out the phone with trembling hands and checked the screen, his first son was the one calling.
‘Answer and place it on loud speaker,’ she said on confirming the name of the caller.
He obeyed. Martin jnr voice came through, he sounded worried.
‘Dad, where are you?’
The doctor stared at her face, as if to ask for what to say.
‘Tell him you’re with your friend,’ she whispered.
‘I’m with a friend,’ he said into the phone.
‘With a friend? The maids said you went out a girl they’ve never seen before.’
‘Tell him not to worry, you’ll be back home soon.’
‘Don’t worry son, I’ll be home soon.’
‘But Dad, we agreed that I was going to drive you to Nnewi when I return.’
‘I know son, I’ll be back soon, just go and take your rest.’
‘Dad, you’re acting strange, hope all is well?’
There was no reply.
‘Have you seen Tracy? Mum said she’s has not returned since she came to see you this morning and she’s not been answering her calls.’ Martin jnr asked.
The man looked at her face again for what answer to give. Tracy was the girl Tarasha had tied up in a room.
‘She’s at the first room at the upper floor of the house.’
The man stared at her for a while with a shocked expression on his face. Now he was beginning to fear her greatly and knew she was more than the innocent girl he thought she was when he saw her at the hospital.
‘Dad, are you there?’ Martin jnr asked when he didn’t get a reply.
‘Yes son, Tracy is in the first room at the upper floor of your mum’s house.’
‘Huh? Dad? What do you mean? She can’t be at home and be silent while we’ve been looking about for her.’
‘Just tell your mother to check her there, I don’t know how she got there but I know she is there.’
‘Dad,’ he called and paused for a few seconds. ‘What’s happening? Where exactly are you?’
‘I’ll explain later son,’ the man said and ended the call immediately. He closed his eyes, there were tears in it.
Tarasha’s phone began to ring just as the man ended the call. She took out her phone and answered the call.
‘Hello boss,’ Cole’s voice came through. ‘I paid for the house already.’
‘What kind of house is it?’
‘A three bedroom flat, well furnished and by the road side in Udoka Estate.’
‘How far is the place from my present location?’
‘Not far, they’re on different sides of an expressway. I’ll send you the coordinates and the address of the house. When should I tell the Agent you’re moving in?’
‘Right away, I’m leaving the hotel this minute.’
‘Okay, you’ll get the message soon.’
The call ended and Tarasha placed the phone beside the hand brake. She stared at the hotel building for a minute, trying to figure out if she would need anything from the room. There was a small piece of paper she had written some codes on she might need, she had put it in the pocket of the trouser she hung in the bathroom. She decided to come back for the paper later that night, taking the man to the house was safer than the hotel room even though she planned on injecting him to make him lose his speech and senses temporarily before entering the hotel.
She had booked the hotel room for two weeks and was still going to keep it in case the need for it arises before she completes her mission in the state.
Dr Ekwueme’s phone was ringing again but he refused to pick it. He had his eyes closed and his head against the headrest of the seat. Tarasha picked his phone and silenced it, she turned it off and tossed it to the backseat.
‘Do you know the way to Udoka Estate?’
The man opened his eyes and nodded affirmatively.
Tarasha started the engine again and drove out of the garage. A cab drove in by her side as she approached the gate.
Dave’s attention moved from the security men at the gate who were communicating to the driver of the cab to the black Chevrolet Camaro he could see driving towards them from the compound. He kept on admiring the car as it came closer. The security guards gave the driver of the cab a pass and he drove on.
Dave’s eyes came in contact with the driver of the Chevrolet as the cars met, both on slow speed. Her eyes met with his too but she didn’t give him much attention while Dave attraction to the car totally disappeared and moved to the driver. He had never seen a lady with a low cut hair so beautiful.
The motion of the cars didn’t give him the opportunity to admire her beauty like he have would love to. He felt an urge to stop the cab and go after the lady in the Chevrolet but he resisted it easily. It was going to be the most stupid thing to do; he had a huge work facing him and it would be unwise to distract himself with a beautiful lady. And he also saw the elderly man beside her, he was sure it was her father, so even if he didn’t have any huge work ahead, it would be foolish of him to go after a lady with her father in a car.
15 minutes later
The Security Control Room of Crescent Moon Hotel.
‘What can I for you sir?’ the bald headed stout security head asked his guest as he sat in his seat. Dave was seated behind the table in the visitor’s chair.
‘I’m Agent David James from the State Security Service Abuja Headquarters,’ Dave said, showing his ID card to the man.
‘But they told me my guest was a journalist.’
‘Yes, I can’t tell who I am to everybody.’
‘Okay, I understand. So how may I help you?’
‘I’m here on the trail of a suspect, I traced her here using her credit cards and I need your help to move around this place without disturbance.’
‘Hmm… Well, I have to verify your claims first before I see how I can help you. So how do I know you are real?’
‘I showed you my ID card already.’
‘Yeah, I can see the seal which shows authenticity but I need to know if you’re authorized to be here.’
Dave took out a neatly folded paper from his pocket, ‘Here’s my permit, signed by the Chairman himself.’
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