So, tell me, who exactly is he?” Henry asked, playing with the gun in his palms as he took a jolly stroll round the footstool she sat on.
She sat with a sad look already feeling convicted, even though Carl Winston was yet to pronounce a judgement or even touch her. She wasn’t looking up. All she could see were Henry’s shoes as he passed in front of her. She knew there was no getting out of this, and she did not bother to try. But the option of selling out the Wolves was also out of it, it would not only endanger her life but the lives of her two kids and their father.
“Talk to me Hannah!” Henry thundered as he stopped at her front again. He pulled her by the hair and raised her face to stare into her eyes.
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Hannah shuddered.
“You know me Hannah, you don’t expect me to believe your lie.”
“I truly don’t know who you are talking about,” she repeated in a choked voice as he pulled her hair harder.
He turned her neck up to face the ceiling and moved his body closer to hers, placing the mouth of the gun on her neck.
“I’m talking about the man who has been giving you instructions concerning the bomb at the female hostel, tell me who he is.”
“I don’t know him so well, I’ve only seen him a couple of times, I don’t know where he stays.”
“What’s his name?”
“He is called The Strategist.”
“That’s not a name,” Henry squinted. “I want his full names.”
“That’s all I know,” she replied in regretful tone. “I don’t even have an idea of what his first name is.”
He pulled her head back harder and fixed in the gun into her mouth.
“You know I don’t spare terrorists, especially those who are unrepentant, I’ll give you one more chance. Who is this man and how can I find him?” He pulled out the gun from her mouth to allow her talk but still held her firmly by the hair.
“If you kill me, it all ends here. I told you the truth already, I don’t know him. I have only met with him a few times with no personal talks. Most of times we talk, he only gives me instructions on phone.”
Henry took a step back and took in a breath. He stared at her for a second and then shook his head.
“Get up Hannah!” He commanded as he took another step back. She obeyed. “Turn, and lift your hands above your head.”
She turned and raised her hands. He moved closer to her and performed a quick search.
He stepped back again. “Put both hands at your back.”
She obeyed him. He took off the handcuff attached to his belt and moved closer to her.
“How many other agents of the Wolves are in this vicinity right now?” he stepped back and asked after cuffing both hands.
“I don’t know of any other here,” Hannah replied.
“Turn slowly and move outside,” he commanded.
She knew better than to struggle or struggle with him. She proceeded to the door without any questions and he followed behind.
Formerly known as Hannah Bob, Hannah Kelvin was a former agent of the FOX who was actively in service for eleven years. She resigned from the FOX a year after her marriage, giving dedication to her family as a reason for the resignation. She had worked under top agents in the FOX during her years of service, such Agents include Agents Carl and Rex. She had been in a team led solely by Carl twice and also in a team led by both Carl and Rex on another occasion. She specialized in the bomb disposal department under the anti-terrorism section of the FOX. She was not much of a good fighter or an expert in the use of weapons, but her wide knowledge of explosive mechanism made her exceptional and unique while she was with the FOX.
Henry was no longer surprised with how the bomb at the female hostel was expertly connected in through the room. Hannah was definitely capable of planting bombs in ways more dangerous than that. He knew her so well and his surprise now was to see a woman who was previously committed to saving lives now committed to destroying lives. How it happened, he was anxious to know but he needed to find who the caller was, the caller whose identity was still known to be The Strategist.
Hutton let out a sigh in disappointment as he spotted FOX vehicles driving in their numbers into the street. He had thought Carl Winston would arrive before them but Carl was still no where to be found despite asking him to expect him.
He got up from the seat and paced about the room for a moment. Then he returned to the table and picked his phone. He took a few seconds to search for a number and dialed it quickly.
“Guys, those guys here are real FOX agents, treat them right but be careful. It is possible for the enemy to have mixed up with them,” he warned.
He ended the call after getting a reply and dialed another number.
“Hello boss,” the call receiver replied.
“Are you in the living room?” He asked, walking again to the window.
“Yeah, I’m ready. I can see the vehicles arriving already,” the man replied.
“Louis did not come before the FOX agents as expected, but I suspect he has disguised himself with the FOX officials who are around. You should be very vigilant,” Hutton warned.
“Good,” Hutton said and then ended the call.
He turned from the window and walked back to the table. He was barely seated when a second phone on his table rang. He picked and checked, Kahn was the caller.
“Hey Kahn,” he answered the call.
“Hutton, something is wrong somewhere. I got news from our FOX agent that an email has been received telling them the location of the next explosion.”
Hutton squinted. “And what location was given?”
“The right location, Bexford South train station.”
“Oh sh**!” Hutton exclaimed and clenched his right fist.
“I think you should check if any of your men somewhere is a mole, it’s possible Carl also knows the location for the third explosion.” Kahn advised.
“Yeah, I’ll check.” Hutton replied as calm as he could. He closed his eyes briefly and breathed out. “You also should check who among the executives could be the betrayal.”
The call ended and Hutton dropped the phone on the table immediately. He placed his hands at either sides of the laptop and watched the streaming CCTV footage for a few seconds.
He remembered again what Kahn had just told him and he clenched his fists and tightened his face in anger. He got up from the chair roughly and began to pace around again, this time slowly but in a more pensive mood.
He couldn’t tell yet where he had gone wrong and how Carl Winston got to know Samantha’s location, and the location for his second explosion. He wasn’t sure yet, if it was possible for Carl to have known the location for the third bomb attack. His mind had become unsettled.
He knew Carl did not have to know or have so much information, and that all he needed was a small loophole but he had tried his best to cover all loopholes. How was it then that Carl Winston still figured out the exact location where he planned the explosions?
Was his mistake telling him the times for the explosion and that it was going to be within Bexford only? Or was his mistake talking to him on phone and inviting him to the Bexford City Mall? But, he had also ensured that the knowledge of the location was kept hidden from his conversations and even the hints he gave. How Carl Winston got the locations was a mystery and it got his heart beating so fast. For the first time since he learnt about Carl Winston’s return, he felt completely restless.
He paused and turned towards the table as another phone began to ring. He took in a deep breath. This time, the phone ringing was the one he used in communicating with Carl.
He walked to the table and picked the phone, he answered the call without checking to confirm who the caller was.
Carl’s voice sounded too cheerful and annoying to him.
“You haven’t won yet dude,” Hutton fired.
“Who the hell is talking about winning? I ain’t in a competition with you,” Carl replied him.
“I thought you were brave, I never knew you were a coward. Why did you have to send the FOX the location details, why didn’t you go to take it off yourself?”
“How am I a coward for reporting terrorists’ plan to the right authorities? You called for me to meet you at the Bexford City Mall and you set me up for the FOX without showing up yourself? Isn’t that more cowardly?”
Hutton remained silent. He was filled with rage but tried to bottle everything in by taking a deep breath.
“And how does it feel to find out I won’t be coming there after asking you to expect me?” Carl asked in a mischievous tone. “It’s the same way I felt when I found out you were not coming to the Bexford City Mall to meet me. I’m only not like you, I’m not an animal, so I won’t have kill other innocent people to get at you.”
“So, this is your payback?” Hutton asked after silence for some seconds.
“No man, I don’t do deals with terrorists. I’ll catch up with you and not only stop your deeds. I’ll avenge all that you did to my family and Rex’s family.”
Hutton loosened up and let out an unexpected laughter. “You’re a sore looser you b*st*rd! You expect me to fear the threats of a man who watched his family burn to ashes and couldn’t save his wife and child who believed in him? I personally asked that they burn your wife and child that way, for them to experience the pain of slow death and regret ever knowing you as a husband and father. Even their bones and ashes were disposed off carelessly like poor peasants.”
There was a long silence from Carl’s end and Hutton knew he had struck the right chord. He laughed again to make Carl feel more hurt.
“D–n you man!” Carl’s voice was stiff and trembling, filled with pain and grief. “I’m gonna make you die a more terrible way, you and every other person involved in taking my family.”
“Hahaha!” Hutton laughed loud. “Let’s get back to the game at hand, you won today but remember I still have Wilson with me.”
“You dare not touch him man,” Henry threatened.
“I determine if I touch him or not, not you b*st*rd! Enjoy the rest of your sorrowful day,” Hutton said and ended the call immediately.
He thought for a moment and realized he needed to stop all communication with Carl, if he indeed wanted to block every medium for Carl to get him. His communication could just have been what gave him out, he thought.
Hannah Kelvin stared at Carl Winston who had his head bowed. She could see the pain and grief written all over his face. She had never seen him like that before nor heard from any of her former colleagues say they saw him that way.
She could however understand his pain. It was the same thing she was protecting, her family -her husband and child. She knew of how Carl Winston lost his in the most unpleasant way.
Carl raised his head and then pulled back on his seat belt. He started the car engine and immediately drove the car back to the road. He took a warning look at Hannah Kelvin who was still stealing glances at him.
The major problem he had left was Wilson. He could not let the young man die for trying to help him. He couldn’t imagine how disastrous the plans The Strategist had for Wilson could be.
The Strategist was indeed a good strategist, Henry thought in his mind. But still made some terrible mistakes in carrying out his plans. Or maybe they were deliberate mistakes, done to make him scared or taunted. Whatever the reasons were, the mistakes were giving Henry the edge. The Strategist through his words had just let out his intentions to do something against him using Wilson, but Henry also had Hannah Kelvin and had not mentioned anything about him to The Strategist.
The FOX Corporation Building.
Paul Edwards was now sitting in the large open office and waiting for reports from different angles. He looked tired and stressed out. It had been all work from twelve am and he had not rested nor eaten anything since that morning.
He picked his phone and was about to dial a number when he saw Agent Mensah walking in through the door opposite him. He dropped his phone and watched Mark walk to him.
“Sir, no one like Carl Winston or stranger was found in that location, I guess the info was wrong.” Mensah relayed to him.
“What about the men who went to the station?” Paul asked.
“Agent Mark is leading the search for the explosive device but they are yet to find any,” Mensah replied.
“Please have your seat Agent Mensah,” Paul pointed him to an empty seat in front. The agent moved to the seat and sat down. “What do you think? Does the recent email confirm that the sender of the video to be the same as the girl in the video?”
“I think it does because their messages are consistent, but we can’t make a claim for now until Agent Sylvanus helps with the confirmation.” Mensah opined.
“Alright,” Paul Edwards nodded.
In the Steve’s team investigation room of the FOX, Agent Sylvanus stood at the center of the table with Evelyn sitting on the stool beside him and showing him some details on the computer. There was a stool beside the man but he refused to sit. Rhoda and two other junior agents were also in the room at other sides, working on different things.
Steve walked in noisily through the entrance door and walked straight to Evelyn and the executive.
“Sir, we need to listen to this,” he said to Sylvanus, displaying a flash drive.
“What have you got there?” Agent Sylvanus asked, after permitting him with a nod to proceed. He pulled the stool closer and sat on it.
“I’ve been able to extract the different sounds in the video, and I think it can help us narrow down the search of the lady.” Steve replied. He plugged in the flashdrive into Evelyn’s computer and waited for the scan to be completed. He then opened the drive and clicked on the file named “Extracted audio”. A total of four audio files were in the file. He clicked on the first and increased the volume.
The audio only played for five seconds before he stopped it and exited.
“This is the voice of the lady extracted separately, we have all heard this before.” he said before clicking on another audio.
The second audio sounded like the voice of a lady humming a song. The tune could not be heard clearly and there seemed to be other rough sounds underground.
“Can the volume be increased a little more?” Sylvanus demanded.
“That’s the highest volume,” Steve answered him. “It is clearer when played with good speakers. It’s part of the underground sound gotten from the video and it shows that another female somewhere very close, probably in the same building was singing.”
“Oh! What about the third audio?”
Steve closed the VLC player and clicked open the third audio. It sounded like somewhere noisy, a crowd of people making inaudible sounds.
Steve pulled out an earpiece. “I think you should use this,” he offered, giving the eartips to the man while he held the plug.
The man plugged it into his ears after Steve connected it to the laptop. Steve took the audio backwards to play from the beginning.
The man squinted as he began to hear the sound better. After a moment, he stared at Steve for a while and then stared down again until the audio finished playing. He took out the earpiece from his ears and gave it to Evelyn to listen.
“It’s a sound of people playing some sports,” he said out loud.
“Yeah,” Steve nodded and then played the audio for Evelyn to also listen.
They waited until she finished to hear her comment.
“They are mostly girls, playing what I think is volleyball.” Evelyn commented, looking at the senior agent’s face. She glanced at Steve as if expecting him to confirm what she said.
“How are you sure they are mostly girls?” Sylvanus questioned. “The voices sounds like girls screaming but men could be the ones playing the game, and the girls cheering them up.”
“Well, that’s another angle.” Steve considered.
“No, they’re girls. I play volleyball and I can tell that some of the girls screaming are amateur players talking to their team mates.” Evelyn retorted.
The men stared at each other’s face for a while, like they were trying to decide whether to agree with her or not to.
“What’s in the fourth audio?” Sylvanus asked Steve.
“Nothing serious,” he replied as he unplugged the earpiece from the laptop to play it out loud. “Just the remnant background sound.”
They still listened to the fourth audio together.
“So, this kind of mean that the video was recorded in a girl’s camp or close to a girls gathering of some sort.” Evelyn stated.
“You’re right if our assumptions are true,” Sylvanus noted.
“The girls don’t sound like they’re unhappy or in captivity, do they?” Steve asked.
“No of course,” Sylvanus replied. “There was a singing voice, and a group of them were playing volleyball like Evelyn said.”
“So where could that be? Somewhere a lot of ladies are camped together,” Steve said thoughtfully and they all remained silent to think of the possible places.
Lydia who had been catching some of their conversation got up from her seat and headed towards them. “There was a bomb alarm at the University Of Bexford about two hours ago,” she said while walking towards them.
They all turned to her, wondering how her statement was connected to their conversation and expecting her to explain further.
“It was at one of the female’s hostel, I heard an unidentified FOX agent singlehandedly defused the bomb.” She added.
Sylvanus got up slowly. “I also heard a report like that, we gotta find out who the agents are.”
He proceeded out of the investigation room and Steve followed immediately while Evelyn waited to shut down the laptop before following.