© Oyinloye Oluwatosin Emmanuel
Proofread by Jesuloluwa
June 22, 2016
Husan, South Husan
Del Vincent was lying weakly in his bed. A bandage was tied around his neck and one around his left arm. There was another one around his right lap where he had received a bullet. He could feel the pains all over his body as he tried to adjust himself in the bed.
His mind went again to the terrors of the night before. The only person he had seen fight so good like that without a gun was Hughes.
His mind flashed back again to the moment he was leading Henry to where Mrs. Kanwa was. He wanted to lure him into a trap and had led him through a route where some of his men were positioned secretly. But it was terrifying as he watched Henry killed six men who were armed with guns, with only a knife. It was during that moment he got the bullet in his lap.
He managed to drag himself up and sat with his back resting against the headboard. He heaved a sigh of relief.
His door opened the next minute and a tall man dressed on suit entered into the room. The man had a plaster on his forehead and his left hand was suspended with a bandage.
“You have a call,” he said as he proceeded to Del with the phone.
“Who the heck is it?” He asked angrily.
“Hughes,” the man said in a soft tone and then stopped beside the bed, waiting for Del to show his willingness to receive the call.
Del heaved a sigh of frustration and then finally stretched out his hand to receive the phone.
“Hello Hughes,” he said calmly into the phone.
“Del, do you have an idea where he took my mother to?” I’ve not been able to reach him,” Hutton’s voice sounded from the other end.
“No, I couldn’t follow him. I had my neck, arm, and right leg broken. I have no idea where he took her to,” Del replied.
“I need to find him and get back mama,” Hutton said and let out a breath from his end. “Can you gather some men to do a search for him? I’m sure he couldn’t have gone far yet.”
“Okay, I’ll make calls for men to search around the town for him,” Del replied.
“Please, give me feedback as soon as possible.”
3 hours later
“I’m not sure what Carl intends to achieve with this,” Hutton forced out a breath after ending the call.
Kahn glanced at him from the dining area where he was sitting. “There are no signs of him yet?”
“None, they only found the car he escaped in,” Hutton replied. He was standing in front of the closed window and staring blankly at the curtain.
“It’s obvious he only wants to get to you,” Kahn replied. He placed the tea mug he held on the table and it made a sound. Then he picked a piece of hot cross buns and bit half of it. “I’m sure Carl Winston wouldn’t hurt your mother.”
Hutton turned to him sharply. “And why the heck did he turn off the only way I could reach him if that’s what he wanted?”
Kahn had to finish munching the food in his mouth before he replied, “He probably has a little problem somewhere, I’m sure he’s gonna reach you soon.”
Hutton heaved a sigh and shook his head. He was proceeding slowly towards the table when his phone beeped. He quickly paused to check the notification. He hissed and locked the phone when he saw a message from the network providers.
Fast Forward >>> 2 Days After
June 24, 2016
The FOX Corporation,
EPA Hill, Bexford
“Take this to the secretary,” Paul Edwards handed over a file to a junior officer as he entered into the open office.
He proceeded to the main computer at the far end corner and replied to greetings from every corner as he went.
“Good morning sir,” the junior officer he was going to meet got up and saluted.
“Morning, please sit,” Paul said as he also sat on the chair beside the table. “I need to get a first-hand report from you before going into my office.”
“Sir, there’s no update on his movement yet,” the officer said to Paul Edwards.
“What about the other two guys, are they being followed yet?” Paul asked.
“Yes, we found their location this morning,” the officer replied. “Our men have eyes on them.”
“Let me know as soon as anything comes up,” Paul picked his device on the table and got on his feet immediately.
“Good morning sir,” Agent Mark greeted as he approached him.
“Good morning Agent Mark,” Paul greeted him with a smile.
“I checked you in the office already,” Agent Mark said and turned as the Chairman got beside him. They began to walk side by side, slowly.
“Okay, I just resumed. Congratulations on the job done at South Husan,” Paul replied.
“Thank you, sir,” Agent Mark answered. “Agent Steve and his men did a great job, I had very little input.”
“Oh! Great, I just needed you to oversee them.” Paul said. “So, where is the team now. Do you have reports available?”
“Yes, Agent Steve and his assistants are waiting in the Investigation room.”
“Oh! Let’s go then,” Paul said and they both increased their walking pace.
Unspecified location, South Husan.
Henry sat quietly in the living room of an old rusty house. He had his laptop on the wooden table and he was sitting on a long stool. He seemed so occupied with his work on the laptop and did not bother to turn back as Dave walked in and out of the living room occasionally.
One of the phones on the table vibrated and distracted his attention for a second. He looked away immediately and continued with what he was doing. A thought came to his mind suddenly and he decided to pick the phone. He tapped the screen on to see the notification showing behind the locked interface. It was a new email message. What caught his attention more was the sender of the message, Sheila.
He had only one email logged into that particular phone. It was the email he had opened when he started to work with Sheila. He knew only her and the lady who tutored him had the email address.
The subject of the email read, “Important message for you.” He wondered what important message she had that is so important she had to reach him. He unlocked the phone and clicked on the notification.
Important Message! Please, read and revert as soon as possible.
Hi Henry! I really hope you read this. I’ve been trying to reach you since yesterday and this is the only way possible for now.
Like I told you the last time we saw, the Wolves are not only depending on violence to carry out their job. I just uncovered one of their plans, through an API code I crammed while in their custody.
Within the past few days, I’ve been making a thorough search for similar API codes and I found one yesterday. It’s a secret app that is owned by the FOX. My suspicion is that the FOX app could be hijacked during an update.
I have the registration ID of the developer. You can have it if you reply to this message.
Please, reply as soon as possible. Remember that the FOX could be vulnerable if this app is hijacked.
Henry thought for a while after reading the message. He remembered Sheila telling him about the code she crammed the last time they saw. But since then, he hadn’t thought about it again. He wondered which of the FOX secret apps the Wolves were trying to hijack. He began to recall all the apps the FOX owned. He counted about 3 apps which could lead to serious trouble if the administration got into the wrong hands.
The thought of telling Paul Edwards about it came to his mind but he quickly discarded it. He needed to get more details concerning it before knowing if involving Paul was necessary.
He unlocked his phone again and clicked on the reply icon. He typed in a phone number and added “Call me in two hours” underneath.
Dave walked into the living room once again and went to take his seat. Henry turned back to look at him this time.
“How’s she doing? Did she take the food?” Henry asked.
“Yes, she did,” Dave answered. “But she still bothers me to know who we are and why we brought her here.”
Henry took in a breath and turned back to the laptop. He checked the time and date. Then he picked up a backpack on the floor and opened the smallest pocket. He took out the phone which he took from the man who led the attack against him on his way from Gogiatha.
He turned on the phone and placed it on the table. Before he could continue with his work on the laptop, the phone began to ring. He glanced at it, the caller was Hughes. He answered the call and placed it close to his ear silently.
“Why the heck did you turn off the phone for two days?” Hutton sounded angry from the other end.
“Would you ask the right questions, or should I turn off the phone for two more days?” Henry asked in a calm tone.
There was a moment of silence from Hutton’s end. Then he spoke softly. “Where is my mother?”
“Of course, you know she’s with me.”
“I want my mother back this moment,” Hutton Ryker said in a commanding tone.
“How do you want her back? Alive or in a casket?”
“You dare not touch her,” Hutton threatened.
“She’s with me and I’m touching her currently, what would you do?”
There was another moment of silence. “What do you want from me?”
“The right question finally,” Henry heaved. “Firstly, when would you withdraw all your men parading Husan in search of me? I don’t want to start killing so many others.”
“I’ll give the instructions after this call.”
“Then, we meet tomorrow in Husan. I’ll send you the address and time when I’m ready.”
Henry ended the call without waiting to hear his response. He switched off the phone and dropped it on the table.
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”But I’m in Bethanna, I may…” Hutton was saying when he realized Carl had ended the call. “Bullsh*t,” he cursed and let out a deep sigh.
“What did he say?” Kahn who was standing behind him in the veranda asked.
“He told me to meet him in Husan tomorrow. He didn’t give the time or the venue,” Hutton replied and then attempted to call the number again. He heard an automated voice instead, telling him the number was switched off.
“He switched off the phone,” Hutton said as he turned to Kahn.
“What do you intend to do?”
Hutton glanced at his face. “I’ll go to Husan of course.”
“How are we sure he’s going to let your mother go so easily?”
“He wouldn’t, I suspect he’s going to make some more demands.”
“Don’t you think it’s time…” he paused to look at Hutton’s face, hoping he understood the question he was about to ask.
“No, we’ll still reserve that,” Hutton replied. “We can still get him to let my mother go some other way.”
Kahn stared at his face for a short moment before he spoke again. “I do hope you’re doing the right thing.”
“We’re on the right path, I’ll get my mother from him,” Hutton said, trying to sound confident, even though he was so unsure.
Husan, South Husan
Henry held his phone with him exactly three hours after he replied Sheila’s message and he awaited her call. A call from a number bearing Anthanna’s code came just in time. He answered the call and rested his back as he placed the phone close to his ear.
“Good afternoon Henry,” Sheila greeted in a calm voice from the other end.
Henry felt an overwhelming feeling of peace at the sound of her voice and at that moment, he wished to have the opportunity to be with her again. He remembered the times with her and everything she did for him. He was so lost in the moment that he did not reply to her greeting.
“Hello…” she called his attention.
“Good afternoon Sheila, how are you doing?”
“I’m fine, how about you?”
“I’m doing well also. It’s a pleasure to hear from you once again, Sheila.” He remarked.
“How long have you been in South Husan?” Sheila asked, disregarding his remark.
“For a few days,” Henry replied before he realized why she asked the question. “My visit here has nothing to do with the FOX uncovering the camp of the Wolves, Sheila. It’s only a coincidence I’m here at the same time.”
“Oh! Okay, let’s go straight to the point then. I…”
“Sheila, have you resumed work yet?” Henry cut in.
“No, but I’ve been working at home. I hope to get back to work soon.”
“So, are you making plans to get the structures erected again?”
“Well, yes. I’m trying to restructure everything about the firm and change the location of the head office.” She replied.
“Sounds great, would you let me know what your plans are later?” Henry requested.
“Huh? Maybe,” She replied with some kind of stress.
“Okay, how is Adrian doing?”
“I think we should just talk about the API codes,” Sheila sounded no longer interested in his questions.
“Okay,” Henry concluded she probably didn’t want to discuss personal issues with him anymore.
“I was able to identify the developer because he brought a project to the firm earlier this year,” Sheila continued. “He’s a very good guy and an excellent developer, but he has a strong crime history also. I’ll just send you his details so you can follow him if you should. Or do you think I should give this information to Chairman Paul instead?”
“No, thanks. I’ll be in touch with Chairman Paul if the need arises. Please send the details to me.”
June 23, 2016
Husan, South Husan.
“Stop right here,” Henry pointed the spot to park the car to Dave.
Dave slowly brought the car to a halt at the exact spot Henry pointed.
“I’m going into that building,” Henry said, looking at a twenty-story building on the other side of the road.
Dave looked at the building and wondered why Henry had chosen the place. The building looked long abandoned and there was no one in sight.
Henry waited until Dave turned his face to him before he spoke again.
“You park the car somewhere safe and stay around this area. I’m only going there to talk with Hutton Ryker but he could pull up surprises. Tell me if you notice any suspicious movement around once I’m in.”
“Alright boss,” Dave nodded.
Henry picked his backpack from the backseat and then stepped out of the vehicle. His eyes looked around the area as he strapped on his backpack. The last time he had been to that area was over five years ago. So many things had changed around. It used to be deserted after a disaster that happened a long time ago, but few people had returned to live there.
He proceeded to the other side of the road and proceeded into the building. It took him about ten minutes to get to the tenth floor as he climbed the stairs slowly. He walked to the veranda of the floor and had a quick view of the area.
Then he proceeded back in and took out the phone to call Hutton.
“What the heck are you doing there?” Hutton asked after Henry gave him the location.
“Come alone, and meet me in an hour,” he heard Carl reply, disregarding his question.
“Are you with her there?” he tried to ask about his mother, but the line had gone off.
He shook his head as he stared blankly. He was sitting at the backseat of a car and there were three other men in the car with him. One of them was sitting by his side and the other two in front.
“You all will have to follow me to some point, then I’ll go into our meeting point alone. Be alert always, I’ll give you signals once I need you around.”
45 minutes later
Hutton, now driving alone in the vehicle, got to the venue of their meeting. He stopped the car some distance away from the building and proceeded towards the place.
He checked his time when he got to the gate and there were still nine minutes left to the time Carl asked to meet him. His eyes wandered about the area to see if there were eyes on him, but he caught none. He then brought out his phone and decided to call Carl, but it did not connect.
He proceeded further into the compound and towards the twenty-story building. He remained vigilant as he took his steps slowly. There was still no sign of anyone around. He was certain Carl Winston would be inside the building if he was really around. But he needed to be sure Carl had no other plans for him. He tried to recall if he saw any vehicle while looking around but he had seen none. He had also seen no suspicious person.
After five minutes of waiting, he finally got a call from Carl. “I’m on the tenth floor, but out of my respect for you sir, I’ll come to meet you on the last floor in the building.”
Hutton frowned on hearing Carl, but the call ended immediately, giving him no opportunity to speak. He proceeded into the building to wait for Carl. He located the stairway and waited in the hall around, expecting Carl to show up from there.
Exactly five minutes after, he began to hear sounds approaching from the stairway. Carl appeared finally at the first step on the flight of stairs.
Henry stopped and stared at Hutton’s face from where he was. Hutton was standing at a considerably far distance from the stairs.
Their eyes locked for a moment, and memories rushed back into their minds.
Hutton could see himself in that forest again, running with young Carl on his shoulder. He could feel that same pain he felt when the bullet got into his back, but he kept on running. He also remembered how he lost other men in that same field that evening.
Carl remembered how he got hit with several bullets that day. He remembered closing his eyes, thinking he was never going to open them again. Then, he also remembered waking up to feel excruciating pains on someone’s shoulder as the sounds of bullets rented the air. Since then, he had never met this man so closely.
Also, he had not been able to thank him for that evening. This moment, however, did not seem like the best moment to thank him for the past