Some of the girls screamed and they began to ran helter skelter immediately. Most of them had never seen something like that but they had an idea that it could be an explosive device or something equally dangerous. The cables were all of the same colour and it made it difficult for him to know which one he was to unplug. Unplugging the wrong one would making the explosion a minute faster.
He checked the time.
Henry checked the connection of the wires around the briefcase again, he traced a particular connection to the center tiny wire among the three plugged to a port on the panel. He carefully held the plug with his fingers, his thumb and index finger. His eyes glanced through the cables run in the briefcase again to be sure he had the right one.
Samantha got up from the chair as she heard something which sounded like screams of ladies outside the room. She had been hearing noise around the place before but they were distant, this one sounded so close, like it was just at her door.
By the time she got to the door, the screams seemed to be farther but she could now hear additional sounds of what seemed like thumping of feet which told her the girls in the hostel on that floor were running from something.
She raised the phone in her hand again and checked the time, it was few minutes to twelve. She hoped that the Wolves man would stick to his part of the deal to allow the students live. She doubted however he could be trusted. She wasn’t sure of what was to come. She returned to her slowly, keeping her eyes on the time.
Dave’s heart began to beat faster as the long hand of his wristwatch moved to a minute before twelve. He had driven a very far distance as instructed by Henry and could not see the building at all from where he was but he still stood, leaning his back against the driver’s side of the car and staring in the direction of the building. Jenny was standing beside him in the same posture as he, her head raised and eyes in the same direction but with her arms also folded across her chest. She was also in a pensive mood.
Dave kept his eyes glued to the wristwatch and his heart seemed to beat at every move of the seconds arm. It was thirty seconds to twelve. In a few seconds, there would either be a loud sound which would mean the death of hundreds of people or there would be total silence which would mean people’s lives have been saved.
Henry knew he had less than twenty seconds to take action. His hand was still on the plug and a quick flashback of scenes where he had successfully stopped bomb explosions ran through his mind. He checked the timer by the side of the case, he had exactly ten seconds to go. He tightened his fingers on the plug and took in a breath. He checked the timer again, five seconds left. He seemed to gain some more confidence at the final seconds and he pulled it out.
There was a bang!
Dave’s heart skipped a beat and he quickly glanced at Jenny, the look in her eyes made it clear that she also had the same thing in mind as he.
“It’s twelve,” Dave said, checking his wristwatch one more time. He looked up towards the direction of the hostel and there was no signs of an explosion, rather was any vibration felt.
“I thought I heard a sound,” Jenny raised her brow.
“I thought I did too,” Dave replied and then shook his head as he let out a smile.
Jenny squinted. “Or was it in our minds?”
“No, it was real,” Dave replied. “But it sounded more like a gunshot or a bomb explosion somewhere far away.”
“And that means Henry is still safe?”
“Yeah,” Dave smiled broadly, feeling relieved. “As you can see no signs of explosion here.”
He took out the car keys from his pocket and unlocked the doors. “Get in, we should prepare to move now.”
“Shouldn’t we wait for the boss’ call?” Jennifer asked, even as she turned around to the passenger’s side.
“Just get in, we’d make the call inside the car.” Dave answered before stepping into the car.
He let out a sigh of relief as he closed the door. Jennifer also entered and closed the door.
Dave was about to say something when his phone rang, Henry was the caller.
Samantha had her head laid on the table in anticipation for the worst. Her heart was still beating fast even though she had seen the time changed to twelve o’clock. As far as it was still twelve on dot, there was no safety yet. The time used to set up the bomb could just be some seconds behind the one on the phone she was using.
She was still staring at the phone in her hands, waiting for it to change to a minute past twelve when she heard something from outside the room. It sounded like someone talking. She raised her head up and stared towards the door.
“Hey! It’s successful, come back here immediately.” Henry said into the phone and then kept it in his pocket. He touched the knob of the door and found it locked. He dipped his hand into the knee pocket of his trouser and took out a leather pack of some tools he had brought along with him for the purpose of working on the bomb.
He took out one of the tools with a sharp pointed edge, he dipped it into the keyhole and pressed a button at the other tip of the tool. The tool drilled a small circular hole in the lock.
Henry pushed the door in and removed the tool.
“Samantha,” he said with a smile as he approached her.
Samantha could not believe her eyes, she had not recognized him immediately because of the FOX mask covering his mouth but she instantly knew who he was when he called her name.
She got up to her feet and he pulled her to a warm embrace even before she said anything.
The embrace seemed a bit awkward for her at first as she wasn’t used to such but then she began to enjoy the comfort his body provided. He let her go after almost a minute and stared into her eyes.
“Henry, I’m…” she tried to speak and apologize immediately for the video she had recorded but he interrupted her.
“Shhh…” he placed a finger across his lips. “It’s okay, I’m sorry for staying so long before coming for you.”
She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath.
“What about Wilson?” Henry stepped back and looked around.
“I don’t know, I’ve not seen him for a while.”
Henry’s eyes caught the camera at the top corner of the wall and he moved his eyes slowly away.
“Let’s get out of here,” Henry said and made his way out.
Samantha looked around once again to see if there was anything she should take along with her. Her eyes fell on the cap and scarf used to conceal her identity in the video. She picked them again and began to put them on.
Henry stopped at the door and waited for her to join him.
They met no one on their way down the stairs until they got to the ground floor. A group of the university security officials and policemen were outside, holding weapons and discussing about going up to check the intruder.
Henry held up his FOX badge in his right hand and held Samantha’s hand with his left, pulling her along with him.
“FOX Agent Michael, the building is safe now. You can pick and dispose the explosive device upstairs,” he said as he made his way through the security men.
“Sir, can you tell us…” one of the security officer tried to stop Henry.
“Please make way, ” Henry stopped for a minute and said in a command tone. “I gotta leave now and report to the office, the device is defused and safe to pick.”
The man reluctantly gave way and Henry hurried with Samantha to the gate.
They saw a cluster of trembling students around the gate and some of the hostel guards watching from outside. All eyes were on them as they walked through the crowd.
Dave honked to make them see him coming from behind. He stopped and Henry opened the door for Samantha to get it first before he followed.
Hutton returned to his seat with a pack of snacks and a bottle water. He saw the fire scene streaming on his laptop and he quickly checked his time. He noticed it was past twelve already. He had gone to ease himself few minutes earlier but hadn’t thought he would stay long.
He smiled in satisfaction as he saw the Bexford City mall and the Henders Hotel in flames, with the fire spreading quickly and components of the buildings falling off from position. He believed that the females hostels at the University Of Bexford would also have gone off.
The CCTV in the school was linked directly to the security place of the school, so he couldn’t access it from the public coverage. He decided to switch back to live stream which was showing Samantha. He expected it to be disconnected already since the whole place would have gone up in flames but he was terribly shocked to find it still on.
He sat up immediately and picked up the phone on the table. He dialed and placed it close to his ear while he stared at the live footage, wondering what corner Samantha was.
“Hey! Did you turn off the device?” He asked his call receiver.
“No, I left there for a safe place immediately you asked me to.”
“And why hasn’t the bomb gone off yet?”
“I just called my colleagues there to ask about what’s happening there and they told me some FOX Agents arrived the hostel and claimed that there was a bomb in the hostel,” the lady explained.
“D–n it!” Hutton cursed and bit his lips hard.
He dropped the phone on the table and looked again at the live stream. He realized that Samantha had left the room already. He placed his elbow on the table and rested his chin in the plam, covering his mouth partially with a finger. He exited the live video and switched to the footage already saved on the server. He played it and moved the cursor to the end of the footage, he then began to rewound it slowly to see the last minute Samantha left the room.
He stopped when he first noticed a man at the door. He stared for a second before he moved the video backward again. It got past to the point Samantha was in the room alone, he paused and moved the video forward slowly. He stopped when the video caught her staring towards the door and played from there.
He watched as the man dressed in the FOX uniform walked into the room. He was surprised and he paused the video when he saw Samantha embracing the FOX agent. He took the video back again and played from where the man walked in. He paused and zoomed, trying to see the face of the man. The video only showed a part of the left side of his face. He watched until the man was about to turn before he paused the video again. He zoomed in the video, the face was not still so clear. He played and paused again, it still wasn’t clear. He zoomed in and studied the face like that. A part of the face was still covered by the FOX face mask. He zoomed out and studied the height and size of the man. He shook his head slowly, it was none other than Carl Winston.
“Bleep it!” he cursed angrily aloud. He closed his eyes for a moment and moved from side to side in his swivel in a thoughtful manner this time.
How the hell could Carl Winston have discovered where Samantha was kept ? He asked himself. He searched in his mind for which of his boys could have been the snitch, there was none that had the capacity to do that. He had all the boys that were involved in the process with him under strict restriction and never made them know his plans until it was time for execution. Kahn was the other person who knew his plans, but Kahn couldn’t have given out information to even the executives, talk more of letting it out to an outside party or a stranger.
He was confused and angry at the same time. He bit his lips and stared blankly at the computer screen for a while before a thought popped into his mind.
Now that Carl Winston had saved Samantha, there was a possibility that he did not know the other locations of the bomb and that means Carl would be coming to his location which he had kept unhidden to find out.
He widened his eyes. He realized that it was no time to start thinking of how Carl Winston got to know that Samantha was in the Female hostel at the University. It was rather time to prepare to welcome Carl or change his location as quickly as he could.
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FOX Corporation Building
Paul Edwards stood horrified, his arms wrapped across his chest and his face filled with sorrows and he watched from afar on the screen, the Bexford Mall and the Henders Hotel, the buildings around them were on fire. He could tell that many people including FOX agents had lost their lives already and many more were injured.
The FOX office was disorganized as agents were rushing in and out, and those in the building moving from one place to another comparing their facts and findings.
Three other Agents were in the same room where Paul Edwards stood, they were sitting in front of their computer systems placed just behind the screen Paul Edwards was watching. The three Agents were examining the footages retrieved from the cameras placed around the scene of the bomb blast before it happened, trying to pick out who came to install the bomb and when it was done.
“Sir, you sent for me,” Steve said as he barged into the room from the front door.
“Yeah, we can no longer wait until the right time.” Paul said. “You have to arrest Mr Daysman and get him here as soon as possible. It’s now very clear to us that these threats are real.”
“Sir, any luck with tracing the locations of the lady who made contact with us?”
“Not yet, the location is hidden but it’s only a matter of time. We will track her down,” Paul replied.
Steve nodded slowly in response. He bowed slightly before he turned and walked out of the room.
Another officer walked in at the same time. He saluted and stood before Paul.
“Sir, some of our men were found lying unconscious at the Midland society school?”
Paul raised his brows. “Lying unconscious? What happened to them?”
“A call gotten from that street to tell of a suspicious man entering into the school.”
Jenny and Dave kept stealing glances at Samantha from time to time, like it was their first time of seeing her. Their joy of seeing Samantha had made them totally forget that Samantha was not the only one abducted. The only feeling of sadness they had was because she appeared to have grown leaner, but the happiness of having her back was much more.
As they drove out through the exit gate, they spotted another FOX vehicle on the entry route already so close to the gate. The vehicle headlight honked as a signal to them and Dave flashed their vehicle headlight.
Both cars slowed down and met at a point on the road, the median separating the lane in and lane out was between them.
“Hey! What’s going on in there?” An agent sitting at the passenger’s side of the vehicle called out to them.
“It’s just some false alarm,” Jenny answered. “The police is already there taking charge.”
“Oh! Thanks,” the FOX agent said and they drove further while Henry and his team continued on their way.
“Good, they’re turning back also,” Henry said, looking back at the FOX vehicle through the back glass.
“How come they couldn’t suspect that we are not FOX officials?” Jenny questioned.
“There are several thousands of FOX officials, they don’t all know each other.” Henry replied.
“Boss,” Dave called and tried to see Henry’s face in the rearview mirror. “Where do we go from here?”
Henry did not reply him immediately. He glanced at Samantha first. She looked somehow withdrawn from the team. She had her back resting at the corner at the left side, her head rested and facing the window. He had to look closely to be sure she was awake.
He caught her attention and she shifted her eyes slowly to him.
“Samantha,” he called softly even though he could see her eyes were on his face. “Do you have something to say?” he asked in a very gentle tone, raising his eyebrows slightly.
She took time to readjust her sitting position but did not answer immediately, she seemed not to understand the question.
Jenny was also stealing glances to the backseat while Dave was glancing at Henry’s face through the rearview mirror.
“I mean do you have anything to say or any information that can help us find those that have Wilson with them, I mean those that abducted you two?”
Samantha squinted for a while and then closed her eyes. She opened after almost a minute.
“Those men, I don’t know them, I never saw them before.” She finally answered. “We came across a police check point on our way back to Vincil that day, the police men turned out to be our abductors.”
She was silent again for some few seconds, then she began to speak again slowly.
“When I opened my eyes that evening, we were chained in standing positions at the centre of poles. They asked about you,” she took a brief pause and stared at Henry again before looking away. “None of us gave them the answer they required from us on the first day, but I don’t know what happened on the second day, Wilson was taken away from where I was to somewhere else, I haven’t seen him again till today. I assumed he agreed to give them information. They returned to me after then and when that man told me I was going to be the suicide bomber for one of their next explosions. I was drugged and couldn’t tell when I was taken to that hostel. The bomb was outside the room and the wires were connected to it, I couldn’t get out without making it go off.”
“I saw that, it was a simple but dangerous bomb set up. I didn’t make use of any tool to defuse it, it was just a disconnection.” Henry interrupted.
Samantha glanced at him and took in a breath.
“It’s okay Samantha,” Henry hushed her. “You need to eat first, I can see you’re hungry and probably dehydrated.”
“I recorded a video,” Samantha forced out.
Henry squinted at her. “What video?”
“Boss, there was an explosion at the Bexford City Mall,” Jennifer interrupted.
Henry turned immediately to her.
“Yes, it’s on the headlines. It happened at exactly twelve noon,” Jenny answered and turned to give Henry the device on which she got the news.
Henry scanned quickly through the content of the news article and confirmed it was true.
“How come?” He questioned himself loudly. “I think it mean he installed two devices, one at the University and the other at the mall.”
“Yes, he did.” Samantha replied in a calm voice.
Henry turned to her again, he quickly handed Jenny’s device back to her and took out his.
“I think he was going to trick you there and make a video and make it seem like you planted the bomb,” Samantha explained.
“Oh! D–n it,” Henry cursed with his eyes widened.
He turned and looked out through the window. He could see a few cars on the road and fewer motorcycles.
“Has the curfew been called off?” He asked, directing his question to Jenny.
“No, but I think people are trying to escape Bexford with their families after the first bomb blast.” Jenny replied. She handed her device to him again at the back for him to read the news.
BEXFORD: No longer safe, residents escaping the city for fear of death.
He read the headline of the news and was about to return the device when another news notification from the same website popped in.
JUST IN: FOX Chairman asks for Bexford to remain calm, says people should avoid moving around to avoid more tragedy.
“Jenny, you’d send a new message to the FOX when it’s fifteen minutes to one, tell them of the other locations of the possible explosions.” Henry said to her as he returned the device.
“Boss, what way do I take?” Dave asked again, they were approaching an intersection.
Henry looked around quickly again. He could still see vehicles around the place. He turned back to Dave.
“Go straight, you’d drop me off at the next junction.”
“Henry,” Samantha called for his attention.
“Sam, you still have something to tell me?”
“Yes,” she replied, breathlessly. “I didn’t know you were going to show up, that man wanted to kill the students and he asked me to record a video to prevent the bomb blast.”
“Which video?” Henry squinted at her.
She was yet to answer when Henry pulled out his ringing phone and answered the call. He excused himself with a signal.
“Hey Cole, what’s the news?”
“Henry, I can no longer track calls from that location. It’s now hidden from from the CCB server.”
“Oh! He hides his location now? What for?” Henry thought. “Thank you Cole.”
He ended the call and returned the phone into his pocket.
Dave pulled over as he got to the junction Henry asked to stop.
“Dave, ensure you and Jenny gets Samantha to a safe place and let her get refreshed.” Henry said before he opened the car door. “Dave,” He called as he turned around to the driver’s side of the car. “I’m going to the location where the phone calls are being made from. Stay connected always, I’ll call you when I need you.”
“Okay boss,” Dave responded.
“Now, open the boot. I gotta take a bag.”
He turned to the boot and raised up the cover to take out his backpack. He strapped it to his back and closed the boot.
He stepped forward again and bent to look at Samantha again. “Take care, I’ll be back soon.”
Samantha tried to open her mouth but no words came out. She closed her eyes and took in a breath. She was yet to tell him about the video she was forced to record. She needed to tell him and she would do as soon as he returned.
FOX Corporation Building.
“Come in,” Paul Edwards finally said in response to the door bell which had rang twice before.
He had been on a call with the nation’s President and couldn’t answer.
His personal secretary stepped in briskly. “Sir, we’ve got another mail from an anonymous sender.”
Paul rested his back and stared at her thinly. He had been expecting the mail or a call from the lady who had been sending them the messages since the day before, he hoped the mail had information about the next planned explosion.
“What’s the content of the mail?”
“The sender claimed Carl Winston who planted the first bomb explosion was on his way to plant the second, the address where he would be in thirty minutes time was sent to us.”
“Forward the message to me right now and tell Agent Michael to send out the team,” Paul ordered.
The secretary bowed and turned out.
“Do we have everything set?” Hutton asked his men, he was standing at the balcony of the big building.
“Yes boss,” one of the three men standing down the balcony replied him.
“We’re expecting some visitors, a group of three FOX officials or a single one and then other FOX officials in large numbers.” Hutton replied. “One of these groups is the enemy, I’ll be monitoring the CCTV and I’ll tell you when the enemy arrives.”
He said before turning back and walking into the house.
The men, numbering up to fifty in total, positioned themselves all around the house.
To be continued.