He got up quickly and his eyes widened in shock to see the fire burning ten times than it was before. Inside the building was full of fire and there was no visible way to get in without being burnt by the fire. Even if he tried to get into the fire, there was no way he could see in it or find Sheila and there was no way he wouldn’t get burnt up himself.
His mouth was left opened in shock and his knees touched the ground weakly.
As he placed his palms on the floor and bowed his head. Flashes of the night at the Turin province returned to his mind.
He could see Sarah and Kellar being dragged into the building that night. He remembered how he watched helplessly without strength in his body until the building was set on fire.
It looked similar to what was playing out the present night. Sheila had been put in the house and the house had been set on fire right before him. The difference, however, was that he had strength to move his body. The only thing stopping him was the absence of a way to get in.
He managed to raise his face up again as he bit his lips. He watched again as the fire angrily razed the building. He took in a deep breath and rose slowly. Even though, there was almost no possibility of Sheila surviving in the fire, he wasn’t going to give up without finding a way to get into the building and get her out.
“Boss, you can’t go in there.”
He heard a voice behind him as he took the first step. He turned his face slightly before proceeding.
“There’s no way we can save her anymore boss,” Cole ran after him to stop him from going into the building.
All of the nineteen men were already dead. Dave and Hannah were badly injured while Samantha only had a slight cut on her elbow.
Jennifer had also gotten into the camp and was driving in their direction as led by her tracking device.
“Boss, we have to go. Jennifer is here already,” Cole said blocking stepping quickly in front of Henry.
They were so close to the building already and there were burning items on the floor around them. The heat from the fire could also be greatly felt where they stood.
Henry pushed Cole aside and proceeded towards the left side of the burning building to check for space.
Cole heaved a sigh and turned to look at him. He knew no one could stop Henry except he stopped by himself. He could only hope Henry would not do something stupid.
Nineteen out of the twenty men Hutton prepared to finish Carl Winston had died already. Unknown to Henry and his team, there was one man left. He was around, watching and waiting for the moment Carl Winston would be vulnerable, just as instructed by Hutton.
Henry returned to the front of the building a minute later, after checking both sides of the building and finding no way to get in. He dropped to his knees, broken and filled with grief and regrets.
The winds had returned and the rain was drizzling again. Cole stood behind him, without knowing what to say or do.
Samantha and Dave also came closer, standing opposite the building as they joined their boss wallow in regret of the failed mission.
Jennifer arrived at that moment and stopped the bus at the road side after honking twice.
They all looked towards the vehicle after Jennifer tried to call their attention with the horn. Only Henry remained with his head bowed, unable to bear the pain he felt inside.
He regretted that he was ever saved from death by Sheila. If she had listened to Tom, she would have been alive, enjoying her normal life. He had failed once more, unable to save her, just like he was unable to save his family.
The whole team was feeling the pains of failure, even though not as heavy as Henry. Cole who was standing behind him, took a look at the many dead bodies on the floor again, over a hundred men had also been killed before these.
He recalled Dave’s suffering and how he was almost put into the burning oil. All the sufferings and the team’s effort had been futile as they were not able to fulfill their sole mission, which was to save Sheila Jack.
Jennifer honked again from the road, wondering why they were still standing under the rain without coming into the vehicle like they had planned. Dave, Samantha and Cole looked towards the car again but Cole was the first to take his eyes off. He looked forward to seeing a man already stepped out, of the building next to the burning one. He had two guns with him, one pointing at Henry and the other towards Dave and Samantha.
The man was about to pull the trigger at Henry when Cole shouted and moved Henry quickly away from the position, pushing him to the ground.
The gun was fired and the bullet entered from the left side into Cole’s belly.
Henry realized what was happening late and the man was about to release another shot at him when a bullet got into the man’s belly from somewhere. The man dropped to the floor in front of the building where he was.
Henry got up quickly to check Cole while Dave and Samantha looked around trying to be sure where the bullet came from. It had not come from Jennifer.
They were still unsure of who shot the man dead when a man appeared from the side of the building and walked slowly towards them. He was fully dressed in the FOX war attire. He stopped some distance in front of Henry who had ripped off his shirt and was trying to stop Cole’s bleeding with it.
“You need to leave now Carl,” he said in soft tones.
Henry froze immediately as he recognized the voice, he raised his head slowly and his eyes met with Paul Edwards.
“You!” Henry exclaimed in a weak tone. He dropped the clothes in his hands and got up slowly.
“The FOX men are coming, you have to leave now.” Paul Edwards repeated again.
Henry stared at him for a moment before he knelt back and picked the clothes he had ripped off. He squeezed it and used it to cover the point the bullet had gotten into Cole’s body.
“Let’s take him together,” he beckoned on Dave who rushed to him quickly.
Henry turned one more time to Paul Edwards after they lifted Cole’s body up. “There are captives in the camp,” he said and then quickly proceeded towards the vehicle parked at the road side.
Paul glanced at the burning house behind him before he turned fully to watch Carl and the rest get into the bus. He wasn’t surprised to see Hannah Kelvin also get into the bus with them. He continued to watch as the bus went on a reverse motion until it got to the intersection. It turned slightly into the other route and sped off.
After watching them drive out of sight, Paul Edwards turned back and walked to the man he shot. He stared at the dead man’s face for a while and then squatted and checked his pulse to confirm he was dead.
He rose up quickly and took out his phone. He dialed a number as he crossed to the other compound and proceeded towards the road.
“How close are you?” he said into the phone. “I’m waiting, hurry.” he said and then stopped at the point where the nineteen dead bodies were scattered around.
He began to walk around the dead bodies, trying to confirm if any was still alive.
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30 Minutes Later
The journey had been a silent one for the team. Jenny was driving as fast as she could with Samantha sitting at the front with her. Cole and Hannah were at the middle seats while Henry was at the very back seat with Cole’s body laying on him. Cole’s shirt had also been torn off and was fastened around his body with Henry’s.
“You take the left turn,” Henry said aloud to Jennifer as they approached an intersection on the road.
“It leads to somewhere else,” Jennifer glanced back.
“Take the left turn,” Henry insisted without explaining.
Jennifer spoke no longer but switched immediately to the left lane.
Dave turned to take a look at Henry. He observed that Henry was no longer finding it easy to control Cole’s bleeding. Henry’s hands with which he held Cole was soaked with blood already and Cole was looking as good as dead. Dave recalled Cole’s words again.
Even as Henry held Cole in his hand. He could not get Sheila out of his mind. He had failed to save her, just like he couldn’t save his family. He was never going to forgive himself for letting her down.
His thoughts drifted for a while and he wondered what he and his team had not done right. They had put out a great plan and a great fight. They had given their best shot, but Hutton Ryker had proven to be a real master strategist. If not for the appearance of Paul Edwards, he and his team would have lost their lives. He would have not only failed Sheila, but the whole of the team.
He took in a deep breath and stared again at Cole who took the bullet for him. His hope of saving Cole was because of the point the bullet had entered through, but now that Cole had lost a lot of blood, he was no longer sure he could survive.
“Slow down, we’re close to a clinic.” Henry said Jennifer, three minutes after she had turned into the other road.
She gradually reduced her speed and soon located the clinic. She turned towards the gate and honked. The gate was opened some few seconds after and she drove in.
Samantha stepped out first with a FOX ID card and quickly walked into the hospital to make a request while Dave waited to help Henry carry Cole.
Cole had been taken into the hospital before a stretcher could be brought out. Dave and Henry were met by some other nurses with a bed at the reception. They placed him on it and followed as the nurses rolled him quickly.
He was rolled into the emergency room and two doctors joined them to begin work on him immediately.
The nurses tried to ask Dave and Henry outside, but Henry insisted on staying.
“Sir, you have to leave us to work now.” One of the doctors said to him politely.
“I’m sorry, I’ll have to stay here.” Henry retorted. “We don’t have much time to stay here, we need you to help stop the bleeding.”
“We need to check him properly,” the doctor argued. “The bullet could have destroyed something else and caused internal bleeding.”
“We are FOX agents on a mission and we don’t have so much time,” Henry replied. He paused for a second and watched as a nurse set up an Intravenous fluid system beside the bed. “You’ll stop the bleeding and give us enough IV fluid bags to keep him until we get to our doctors.”
June 16, 2016
Ernest Daysman and three other men were sitting around the table. They seemed to be waiting for some other people as the seats at either adjacent sides were empty. They muttered words to each other occassionally while they waited until Hutton Ryker and Elvis Kahn finally came in. The men got up in respect.
Elvis took the first seat while Hutton turned to the opposite end.
“Please, sit gentlemen.” Hutton said before taking his seat.
There was some silence for the first minute after they all sat. The look on Hutton and Kahn’s face made it obvious that what they had to share was bad news.
“We flopped yet again,” Hutton began in croaky voice after the long unmerited silence. “Carl Winston remains alive and will be coming after us again. Over five hundred captives and soldiers in training have been set free.”
The men sitting around made no reply but remained totally silent. The silence lasted for more than a minute.
“Did Sheila Jack die?” Daysman asked. He stared at Hutton’s face to get a response but got none until Elvis Kahn spoke.
“The FOX has not confirmed her death yet, but there’s no way she could have escaped death in that fire.”
“The news said a body was recovered from the fire, but they’re yet to identify it.” One of the other men put in.
“There was only one person in the building while it burnt. That is Sheila Jack, “ Kahn said.
“And how long would it take the FOX to identify it as Sheila Jack’s body?” Hutton asked rhetorically. “I do think there’s a reason they haven’t named whose body it was.”
“Of course, there is a reason.” Kahn replied him. “They would surely find it difficult to announce to the world that Sheila Jack was killed. She’s a popular figure like her father. It could cause revolt and would bring a lot of shame to the Wolves for failing to stop us.”
Hutton stared at Kahn’s face silently for a moment. Everybody else was staring at his face. What Kahn said seemed reasonable to them.
“Until they identify we get proofs that she died, every single thing we think here would just be assumptions.” He finally said. “We can also assume that she didn’t die in that fire.”
“Come on Hutton,” Kahn shook his head. “There was no one else in that building, she was the only one. The fire got so intense after Carl Winston forced the door opened and no one could have escaped such.”
“I think Mr Kahn is right, if Sheila Jack was the only person in the building, it means her body is the unidentified body.” Daysman joined.
Hutton raised his head again. “What if she got out before Carl Winston forced the door down?”
They all stared at each other’s faces wondering why Hutton was sounding so negative.
“But that’s impossible, she was tied firmly. She couldn’t have escaped without anyone untying her, and if she did escape, the FOX wouldn’t have found any burnt body.” Kahn replied him.
Hutton gave up and shook his head. “Alright, I would have just loved Carl Winston dead there. But since he was saved by Paul Edwards, he has only postponed his death.”
“Yeah, we made him weaker than he is,” Kahn put in with a note of victory. “I think we should take a drink and toast to our success.”
“Oh Yeah!” The other men agreed.
Hutton smiled lightly to hide his feeling of uneasiness. He still had doubts in his heart, especially as he remembered that Paul Edwards must have gotten into Sisa through the water entrance. What if Sheila Jack had been taken out of the fire so early?
He shook his head, trying to dismiss the thoughts. He was only trying to be careful about making conclusions without proofs, just like they had been sure of Carl Winston’s death. Kahn, however, must be right in his case. The only person that could have burnt in the building was Sheila Jack.
Paul Edwards had appeared suddenly to save Carl Winston, but that was only postponing his death. Death was very close for Carl Winston, and he would never be able to escape forever.
June 17, 2016
The old six-bedroom flat bungalow sat in the middle of the small town. It looked small in the large compound from the aerial but was larger on a closer view. There were other smaller buildings in the compound but there was no other flat.
Behind the house was a small farmyard for live-stocks. Close to the fence on the left side were two big cages for domesticated birds. One of the cages had about twelve hens at the upper-division and had five cocks at the lower. The other cage was empty.
At the right-hand side was an empty shelter for goats. About five goats could be seen around at different points in the backyard and few more at other points in the compound and outside.
The livestock farmers who were the owners of the house were also doubled as doctors. The husband and wife were in their late sixties and had grown-up children who were all married.
Henry was sitting at the dining area of the living room when a motorcycle with two people arrived in front of the house. The old man dropped from the motorcycle while the younger man riding it, turned and drove out of the place. The man proceeded into the house with the nylon bag in his hands.
“Were you able to get it?” The wife who was sitting on one of the sofas in the living room asked her husband as he walked in.
“Yes, I had to go into Cartak to get it.” the man replied.
“I was getting worried about you,” the woman said. “You left since morning and your line wasn’t connecting.”
“That has to be network issues.”
Carl got up as the man approached.
“I got everything we need Carl,” the man only took a glance at him while proceeding into the hallway.
“Okay, would he survive now that we’ve gotten the drugs?” Henry asked as he followed the man into the hallway.
“Let us hope he does,” the doctor replied.
They both walked into the room to meet Cole still sleeping in the bed. Dave was sitting on the chair by one side of the room.
Cole was in shorts only. The bullet had been taken out of his body and a bandage was around his belly. An IV fluid bag hung beside the bed and the fluid was running slowly into the blood vessels through the IV line.
Not only Cole had received treatment in that house, but the whole team. Dave, Hannah and Samantha had also gotten their wounds treated, while Henry who had to donate some blood for Cole was also taking time to recover.
The doctor pulled a stool closer and placed the nylon on another stool in front of him. He took out three ampoules and three syringes. He drew in part of the first ampoule into the syringe and covered the needle before putting in on the stool. He repeated the process for the other two before he moved closer to Cole.
He disconnected part of the IV line and removed the needle part from the syringe. He injected the three mixtures into Cole’s body through the IV line.
Henry stood and watched as the man administered the drug. He had been unable to rest since they got there. He kept seeing his wife and Sheila in his sleep and even while he was awake. Everything he could see around kept reminding him that he failed them.
“Hello Carl,” the Doctor’s wife tiny voice interrupted Henry’s thoughts. He turned back and saw her peeping from outside the room. “Your attention is needed.”
She gave no extra explanation before she walked away.
He raised his brows and wondered what she needed his attention for. He followed seconds after and saw that she wasn’t waiting in the hallway but had returned to the living room. He walked to the living room to meet Paul Edwards waiting for him.
“We need to talk Carl,” Paul said in a calm tone.
Henry stared at him for a while without replying.
“How did you know I’ll be here?” Henry asked.
“There was no other place you could have gone, considering that your men were injured.” Paul Edwards replied.
“What do we have to talk about?”Henry questioned again.
“My car is parked outside, we could talk in there.” Paul offered.
Thy were sitting in the car five minutes after and the atmosphere between them seemed awkward.
“When are you confirming that Sheila Jack died in that building?” Henry interrupted Paul who was explaining how they made their way to Sisa.
“You know that is impossible to do right now,” Paul replied.
“Why is it impossible to do? You announced Carl Winston and Rex’s death without confirming, why would it be difficult to announce a death that is evident enough.”
Paul took a deep breath. “Carl,” he shook his head and heaved a sigh again. “We really thought you were dead.”
“That’s not what I’m talking about now, I’m talking about Sheila Jack.”
“Carl, you’re the only one who claim that the person in the building was Sheila Jack, we don’t have proofs anywhere else.” Paul retorted.
“Oh! You think I lie?”
“No, but you should understand that we can’t announce of someone like Sheila Jack like that. It would put the FOX under fire.”
Carl stared at Paul in awe.
“Carl, I know we’ve done you so much wrong. But I swear to you that we really thought you were dead,” Paul swore.
“And what did you do about those who killed us?” Henry snapped.
Paul shook his head. “I swear to you Carl, I can’t explain what happened now. But we got into a big mess, I found out recently that Elkim Nuel betrayed the FOX.”
Henry sighed. He was taking anything Paul Edwards told him.
“Believe me Carl, I can’t explain to you now. I’ll tell you everything when we have the time to discuss more.” Paul pleaded.
“So, what have you come here to do?”
‘Carl, I need you to stop this movement you’re making. I got involved in the investigations already and we would take them down, I promise.”
Carl turned to him and gave a light smile before turning it to a brief laugh. “Come on, the Wolves were having a field day until I returned to Bexford. What makes you think you can stop them now?”
“We can Carl, I’m not the only one involved. A lot of the executives are also involved now.”
Carl chuckled again. “Same executives where you have betrayals?”
Paul was silent for a moment.
“There are many bad eggs in the FOX right now, and you do not seem to be in charge anymore.”
“Carl, what you’re doing is illegal, I may not be able to stop the laws from fighting against you later.”
“To hell with the laws man! Bleep the whole legal system,” Henry cursed. “Why the hell should I be scared of fighting against what has never fought for me?”
Paul stared Carl in the eyes, knowing it would be difficult to change his mind.
“Carl, the FOX would fight for you if you back down now. Please, do.”
“It’s too late to fight for me Paul, you did nothing at the right time.”
Paul shook his head and was about to talk again when Henry continued.
“You, Paul Edwards, can no longer be trusted, you have so many dirty things hidden under your cupboard. The FOX cannot be trusted also.”
“I say once more, Carl, let us handle this.” Paul pleaded again.
Henry did not reply immediately but stared him straight in the eyes. “I will take them all down, for the death of my family, for Rex and for Sheila Jack.”
Henry turned immediately and opened the door to step out. He had placed a feet outside when he suddenly stopped on remembering something. He turned back into the car without closing the door.
For a moment, he only looked and didn’t say anything to Paul.
“Thank you for saving me and my men Paul,” he put on a smile which changed into a hard face immediately. “But I’ll ki*ll anyone who tries to stop me. And that includes you.”
With that he got out of the car and slammed the door.
Paul watched him walk into the house before he drove away.