© Oyinloye Oluwatosin Emmanuel
(Edited By Blessing Joy)
El Deols, Anthanna.
Adrian was sitting alone in his living room, filled with joy after hearing that Sheila was alive and speaking to her. He had a pen and a jotter in his hand and he could not think of any other thing apart from Sheila. He had written on five pages of the jotter, about his love for her and how he wished to see her.
The television was off and the whole place was quiet, except for Adrian’s occasional chuckling as he fantasized about meeting Sheila again. He was so lost in thoughts, he didn’t hear any footsteps approaching him.
A hand covered his mouth from behind and a knife was held close to his neck.
“Hey! Where can I find Sheila Jack?” The voice asked.
Adrian froze in shock. He noticed the shining blade of the knife and realized that any movement he made could make the knife go into his neck easily.
“I don’t want to hurt you, but I don’t want you to shout also. Just give us the answer quickly,” the man behind said as he took his hands off Adrian’s mouth but gripped his neck.
Adrian widened his eyes on hearing “us”, it meant the man was not the only one.
The intruder was dressed in all blacks, his face partially masked and his hands covered with black gloves. His knees were on the ground behind the sofa where Adrian was sitting.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Adrian said in a weak tone after his mouth was uncovered.
The man took the knife away from his neck but still had his hands wrapped around his neck.
Adrian noticed another person entering through the door but he couldn’t turn to see who it was.
The woman was dressed just like the other intruder. She walked to Adrian’s front and pulled a footstool close to him. She sat on the footstool and held a gun in her right hand with a knife in the other hand. The man behind Adrian released his neck and got up after the woman sat. He stepped back to the wall.
Adrian turned his neck quickly to look at the face of the person behind him but he noticed it was also partially masked like the woman in front. There was panic written all over his face. He wondered who they were and how they got into the house so silently.
“Gentleman, we do not wish to waste our time. Just tell us where we can find Sheila Jack and we’ll leave immediately.” She said in a firm voice.
Adrian stared at her shakily, he glanced back again and still saw the man standing behind him.
“Sheila Jack has been kidnapped, and I don’t know if she’s alive or dead.” He replied in fear.
She leaned forward, taking her face close to his. “We’re not here to joke, man, we’ve been monitoring you for some time and we know you’re aware of her whereabouts. So tell us, and stop beating about the bush.”
“ I swear, I don’t know anything about her whereabouts. There are speculations that she died a few days ago in the fire at the discovered camp of the terrorists.”
She leaned back again and stared at him for a moment. She was sure he wasn’t ready to speak up. Her eyes wandered quickly around the living room and she saw a jotter on the floor a few centimeters away from Adrian’s leg. She noticed the fear in his eyes when he noticed she had seen the jotter. It made her gain more interest and she bent forward to reach for the book but he quickly picked it before her.
She sat up and stared at him, now believing that there was something about the book.
“These are my thoughts, you shouldn’t be intruding my privacy. I don’t know anything about Sheila Jack’s whereabouts,” Adrian defended.
Without saying a word, she cocked the gun in her right hand and pointed at him. she stretched out her left hand to collect the jotter.
He stared at her shakily for a moment before he finally handed over the jotter.
She placed it on her knee and quickly scanned through the opened page. She found nothing reasonable there apart from incoherent rants of someone missing his lover. She raised her face and looked him in the eyes. The look on his eyes still made it obvious that he was hiding something in the book. She flipped over to the next page where she found only a few words.
A look at his face again still kept her convinced that there was something to find in the book. She flipped to the previous pages and stopped where the writings began. The first line gave him out.
I could not contain the joy when I heard that the love of my life is still alive. Dear Sheila, I can’t wait to see you again…
She chuckled and stared at his face. “You dunce! You know she’s alive, where the hell have they kept her?”
“I don’t know anything, I was only writing that from my imagination.” Adrian lied.
“Don’t bleep around with me man!” She slammed the jotter angrily on the ground. “We’ve monitored you closely and we know you picked Emery Jack from the airport, a few hours ago, you spoke with Emery on the phone, didn’t you?”
Adrian was dumbfounded. He hadn’t told anyone about going to get Emery Jack from the airport, so he wondered how this woman knew that.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he insisted.
It angered her and she got up and pressed him to the seat with her hand against his neck and a knee on the seat. She placed the gun on his head.
“Would you bleeping let me know, or I blow your brains off?”
Adrian trembled all over, his lips shaking and his eyes blinkering.
“Talk to me now,” she slammed again.
“I don’t know where she is,” he said with stammering lips.
She got infuriated and forced the gun into his mouth. “I’ll ask for the last time before I pull the trigger, do you know where Sheila Jack is?”
Adrian was sweating now. From being so madly in love a few minutes ago, he was about to die for that love. He had a quick recap of his life and remembered all the dreams he was yet to achieve. He remembered the promises to his parents which he hadn’t fulfilled and he wondered if it was worth giving up.
His bladder gave way in fear and he could feel his boxers wet. He then remembered he wasn’t even sure if Sheila had accepted him yet. He was the only one madly in love with her and she was yet to reciprocate.
He closed his eyes for a second and opened them. He shook his head to signal a No.
The lady slowly took the gun from his mouth. “What did you say?”
“I don’t know where she is…” He stuttered.
She pressed the gun to his neck before he could finish talking. He closed his eyes to expect his death but he suddenly felt a release.
She got off him and stepped back.
“Where are your phones?” She asked in a calmer voice.
She didn’t wait for him to reply as she remembered she had seen the phones earlier when she looked around the living room. She walked to the sofa where the two phones were placed and picked them. She turned on both phones to confirm if they were locked and then took them to him.
“Unlock the phones,” she commanded him.
15 Minutes later.
Dave got into the driver’s side of the car while Samantha got into the passenger’s side at the same time.
“He said nothing to us about her,” Samantha turned to report to Henry who was waiting at the backseat.
“Did you threaten him enough?” Henry asked.
“Yes, the gun was forced into his mouth.”
Henry raised his brows. “Hope he wasn’t injured.”
“Physically, he wasn’t. We can’t tell psychologically.” Samantha answered. “We took both phones from him and his jotter. We locked the doors and tied him inside, we should be done before he can communicate with anyone.”
“Can we move now?” Dave chipped in.
“Yes, we should,” Henry replied and Dave kicked on the engine immediately.
Henry took the phones and the jotter from her. He looked at both phones first and then dropped it beside him to check the jotter. He read the content for about two minutes before he dropped it and took in a breath.
“He must be truly in love with her,” he said aloud thoughtfully.
“Yeah, he was willing to keep the truth and die.” Samantha put in.
Henry closed the jotter slowly and stared thinly out of the window. He recalled the day he met Adrian and Sheila in her living room making out. Adrian was probably the best man for her.
Somewhere close to Sisa.
Florence Brown stepped out of the hospital with two men flanking her. She was holding a phone close to her left ear as she proceeded to the gate.
“We couldn’t get any information regarding their whereabouts from this clinic,” she was saying into the phone. “We are only certain that they stopped by to treat one of their injured men who had a bullet in his belly.”
“Have you checked all other hospitals around there?” Hutton Ryker asked from the other end.
“Yes, we’ve combed the area and made inquiries everywhere.” She replied as she stepped out of the gate.
“Meet me at Bexford tomorrow evening, I have other assignments for you.”
After the call, Hutton turned to Kahn and the other men who were sitting around a table.
“We have to get back to Bexford, Carl Winston’s present location is unknown.” He said and walked up to them slowly.
“And what’s the plan?” Daysman asked. “What are we going to do when we get back to Bexford?”
Hutton pulled out the seat and sat with all eyes staring at him.
“What do you guys suggest we do?” He asked.
“We should focus on killing Carl Winston before we go ahead with our mission,” Kahn suggested.
“I think he’s right,” Chanda put in. “We can’t go ahead knowing Carl is still alive, he’s going to always step in our way.”
“Looks like we’re forgetting something here,” Daysman called attention to himself. “Rex is still alive somewhere, possibly recovering.”
“Come on,” Kahn raised his brows at him. “It could take years for Rex to completely recover, and even if he does, he wouldn’t be strong enough to fight us.”
“You’re right, but we need to know where he is. It could help us get to Carl Winston easier.” Another man chipped in.
“Gentlemen, let us never underestimate those men. Carl Winston and Rex Morris have survived extreme conditions and can survive more.” Hutton put in.
“So, what do we do about him?” Daysman asked.
“Bringing down Carl Winston is our priority now, that would solve most of our problems. We need to focus our energies on killing Carl Winston for now.”
“But we’ve got the FOX closely on us like never before, don’t you think it’ll be a distraction for us?”
“It’s easy to get the FOX off our backs, and we’ll work on wrecking them after we return to Bexford,” Hutton said.
“That is supposed to be one of our last steps on the mission.”
“Yes, but as it is, Carl Winston seems to be a bigger threat than them. If we get them out of the way, it’ll make it easier to combat Carl Winston.” Hutton replied.
“So, it’s time to weaken the FOX’s structure?” Kahn asked.
“Yes, we’ll begin that in the next few days and then invite Carl Winston to fight for his life,” Hutton replied to him.
“I hope the plan would not fail this time,” Chanda voiced his fears.
“It either takes everyone’s life than not working at all,” Hutton answered.
Emery Jack’s Residence, El Deols.
Emery had just ended a call with Mrs. Gilbert when his phone began to ring again. Adrian was the caller this time. He stared at the screen for a while, wondering why Adrian called back after they had spoken earlier in the day.
“Hi Adrian,” he answered the call and said into the mouthpiece of the phone.
“Good afternoon Mr. Emery, it’s Henry.”
Emery frowned at first, not sure if he was hearing rightly. It was obvious the voice wasn’t Adrian’s but he also had not spoken with Henry for a long while and couldn’t tell if it was his voice. He got up from the edge of the bed where he was sitting and walked towards the door.
“I got Adrian’s phone just to reach you, I know you’re with Sheila. I’m in front of your residence and would only like to see you.”
“We don’t have anything to discuss Henry, if you love us and want us well, you should stay away for now.” Emery Jack finally replied.
“I beg of you Mr. Emery, I promise I would stay from you and Sheila after meeting with you this once. I only need to get some details from her.”
“You can’t meet with us, it’s against the instructions from the security officials.” He replied after opening the door and stepping out.
“Please, Mr. Emery. I wouldn’t…”
“Please stay away Hen…Carl Winston, and do return Adrian’s phone to him.” Emery ended the call abruptly and proceeded to join Sheila and Paul Edwards.
Sheila was with Paul Edwards in the living room, answering questions and telling him about her experience with her abductors.
“So you’ve never seen any of those men before?” Paul Edwards asked for the umpteenth time.
“Yes, I can’t name any of them.”
Paul was about to ask another question when Emery Jack walked in. Both Paul and Sheila looked at his face and noticed his expression.
Emery stopped at the center of the living room and glanced at both faces. He then stared at Paul’s face for a while wondering if he should tell Paul about Henry in Sheila’s presence. His phone began to ring again.
He looked at the screen and heaved a sigh.
“He’s calling,” Emery said facing Paul.
“Who?” Paul arched his brows.
“Carl Winston,” Emery answered.
Paul’s eyes widened in surprise, so as Sheila’s. He got up quickly and took the phone from Emery to answer the call.
He swiped the green icon and put the phone close to his ear.
“Mr. Emery, I just need a chance to speak with you and Sheila. After that, I’ll stay away forever if you want me to.”
“Carl, would you take my offer of leaving the FOX to fight the Wolves alone if I let you come in?”
There was a brief moment of silence as Henry heard Paul’s voice instead of Emery’s.
“You know I can’t do that Paul, I have to make the killers of my wife pay.” Henry finally said.
“That’s what the FOX is about, Carl,” Paul replied. He turned slowly and faced Emery who had his eyes on him. Sheila was also staring at him anxiously.
“I can’t trust the FOX with this,” Henry replied. “You once let the men who killed me leave, I can leave this in your hands.”
“If you stick to doing this illegally, I’m sorry we can’t let you in. You’re as dangerous as other criminals as long as you carry on your mission,” Paul replied.
“I think the FOX is bleeping more dangerous, Paul. You let the men who killed my family go, what else is illegal than that?” Henry seemed to be getting pissed off.
“And we’re trying to make amends now, but you’re stepping into the way of the law.”
“Paul, I’m the law. I was not dismissed from the FOX, so I’m still an agent of the FOX.”
“You have to report to the office man, you’re carrying out your operations outside the ambit of the law.”
“Bleep you, Paul, I need to see Sheila Jack.”
“I’m sorry, we got no deal man,” Paul said and ended the call. He turned to Emery again. “How did he get your phone number?”
“He took Adrian’s phone, I don’t know how he got to Adrian,” Emery replied.
“You called Adrian?” Paul asked.
“Yes, I had to let him speak with Sheila.”
“You should have asked me to hide your location first, you should know Carl Winston would do anything to find her after he finds out she’s alive.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t think he knew Adrian.”
Paul was about to return the phone to him when the call came in again. He answered the call.
“Can we see Paul? We need to talk about this,” Henry offered.
“Where are you?”
“Opposite the residence.”
“I’ll be with you shortly,” Paul replied and ended the call. “I’ll be back now, I need to go with your phone,” he said as he returned the phone to Emery.
“Be careful,” Emery warned.
“Are you letting him in?” Sheila asked Paul who had turned towards the door.
“We dare not let him in,” Emery replied first instead.
“I need to see him and talk to him first,” Paul said to Sheila and walked out.
“You still want to see him after explaining to you that it could get you in more trouble?” Emery moved close to his daughter after Paul had left.
“Dad, I just need to see him.”
He stared at his daughter unbelievably. “I don’t want you to see him, you’re the only one I’ve got and I want you safe always.” He spoke softly to her.
“I know Dad, but I’m known with him already. Seeing him once more would not increase or decrease the risks.”
Emery took a deep breath.
“That aside Dad, Paul told me you trained with him several years ago.”
“Yes, we trained together in the Military when we were younger, he lived in Anthanna then,” Emery answered.
“How come you never worked in the military?”
Emery smiled. “Your mum, I was madly in love with her. She was always sick and the doctors predicted she would die soon, I couldn’t return to work in the military after the first training because I wanted to spend time with her before she died.”
“But she didn’t die then, did she?”
“She lived, contrary to the doctor’s predictions. She lived for several more years, we got married and she gave birth to you. But she was still sickly, I still couldn’t let her be alone. We started the business together and were able to make progress from the money her parents gave us to invest but she died six years after you were born.”
Paul looked around as he stepped out of the gate. He looked over to the other side of the road but did not see Henry or any car parked there. He raised the phone to dial the number when the call came in again.
“Walk towards the left side, I’m sitting in a black jeep across the road. I couldn’t come too close without attracting the attention of the security” He heard Henry say on the phone.
It took Paul less than two minutes to get to him and sit on the passenger’s side of the car, a reverse of their positions in the morning.
“I can’t stop going after those men, you know I can’t.”
“But you should, as long as you aren’t in the FOX, you’re wrong,” Paul replied.
“I can’t rest as long as I know the men that destroyed my family are still breathing,” Henry fumed.
“That’s the exact reason you have to stop, this case is too personal for you to handle.”
Henry took a sharp glance at him.
“Yeah, you’re too emotionally involved in this and these men seem to know a lot about you than you think. They tried to weaken you emotionally to get you, that’s why they wanted you to watch Sheila die. You were so weak when you thought you couldn’t save her and you almost got killed. As long as this is a personal battle, you may not just be the right person to handle it.”
Henry heaved a sigh. Paul was right. They could have killed him and everyone else if Paul had not shown up.
“But the FOX hasn’t been making progress on this, it’s been too slow.”
“We’re all involved now and the executives are working, we will get rid of them as soon as possible. The only reason you are faster than us is that you are a target of the Wolves. They want to kill you and that’s why they give you the chance to come closer.”
Henry stared at Paul thinly for a while. He didn’t believe all Paul said but he wasn’t ready to argue. He thought for a moment and decided that he couldn’t still trust Paul.
“Chairman Paul,” he said and let out a breath. “I can’t trust you. You’ve got your hands in a lot of dirt and you have explanations to make.”
Paul squinted at him, wondering what he was talking about.
“You deceived the world to think your son died in the explosion at the Bexford University and you’ve been also found at the Magic Complex more than once, that used to be a meeting point of the Wolves,” Henry explained.
Paul Edwards heaved a sigh. “That’s what it seems like, Carl but I never meant to deceive anyone. I was also deceived, and at the time I spoke on TV, I thought he was truly dead.”
Henry scoffed. “Come on Paul, you know I wouldn’t fall for that. Not even the newest FOX intake would fall for that.”
“I know it would be difficult to believe and that’s why I haven’t been able to explain it to anyone. Only Elkim Nuel knew about it.”
“Yeah, and is it a coincidence that the same Elkim Nuel was caught as an ally of the Wolves?”
“I’m not an ally of the Wolves, Carl. Trust me, I’m not. I never knew he was alive when I spoke at that press conference. We already began to mourn him at home. It was that evening someone called me to inform me the young man was alive and demand for ransom. I did not believe at first but he proved it to me. I couldn’t inform the FOX or the police after talking about his death on air. No one would believe if I had told them my dead grandson was kidnapped. Since I knew he was the target of the explosion, I decided to keep it secret not to make him a target of the Wolves.” Paul explained.
Henry chuckled. “How come he was kidnapped just before the explosion?”
“All I can say is that it was a coincidence, he went out of the school a few hours before the explosion and he was taken by the kidnappers. It just happened by coincidence.” Paul answered.
Henry kept staring at him without saying anything. He seemed to be pondering on Paul’s explanation.
“I tried to find the kidnappers after paying the ransom and getting my grandson. I kept tracing the kidnappers’ lines and never got to locate him. One day, I tried again and found a location. That location was the Magic Complex in Bexford and I went there in search of him, I never found him.” Paul concluded his explanation.
Henry still stared at him without saying a word.
Paul shook his head. “Listen, Carl, I don’t expect you or any other person to believe me. For now, I’m not fighting to prove myself yet. I just want to stop the Wolves.”
“You’ve not been able to convince me to trust you,” Henry replied.
“Well, I’m afraid we’d have to do things our way then. You continue illegally and the law comes after you,” Paul said and paused to clear his throat. “I think that’ll be all,” he added and opened the door to step out.
“How long will it take you to wipe out the Wolves?” Henry asked, stopping Paul from stepping out.
Paul turned back to him. “You know I can’t give you a date, even you can’t ascertain that.”
“I need something to hold onto, I can’t wait for you forever to get it done. I’ll have to step in if you fail to get it done.”
“We don’t have much information now, we’re still working on getting details,” Paul answered him. “If we get a certain level of information, then I would be able to give a timeline.”
“Can you close the door?” Henry requested.
Paul stared at his face.
“Yeah, close the door,” Henry affirmed. “We still have more to talk about.”
Paul closed the door and turned back to him.
“How many of the FOX men did you take from Sisa?”
“Only three were alive but terribly injured, all the other men were dead.”
“Have there been any interrogation?”
“Yes, all three culprits have been interrogated even on their treatment beds. Ten of the captives have also been interrogated.”
“Care to share the results with me?”
“I can’t, you know it’s classified information.”
“Oh well, I’ll keep what I know to myself since it’s classified.”
“You’re supposed to let us know what you know, that will help our investigation.” Paul cautioned.
“Well, we don’t have a deal yet. Do we?”
Paul kept his eyes on him silently for a moment.
“We got no relevant information from those interrogated, it seemed the elders in the hierarchy of the Wolves let no secrets out to their men.”
“What are those irrelevancies you got from them?”
“The captives only told us how they were abducted and trained to be soldiers, for a war they knew nothing about. The soldiers caught gave names but irrelevant names, all the names of people they gave were already dead in the camp. They had no idea where the chopper was flying to.”
“Do you know the man called Elvis Kahn?”
Paul squinted. “Yes, I know Elvis Kahn. He’s been away from the public a long time ago. Rumors had it that he retired with his wife to a village in South Husan.”
“Come on, why is the FOX lagging so behind?”
“Do you mean Elvis Kahn is involved with the Wolves?”
“He left in a chopper, I think they left before you arrived,” Henry replied.
“No, we saw it leaving.” so
“He was there, Elvis Kahn.”
“What the bleep! How come?” Paul looked so confused.
“Do you know where his wife is in South Husan?” Henry asked.
“No, but we can find out,” Paul replied.
“Well, I don’t think Elvis Kahn poses many threats. I’ve made my research on him and I don’t think he’ll be difficult to kill. There’s another man, I believe he is the most dangerous of the Wolves.” Henry paused and stared at Paul’s face. “His name is Hutton Ryker.”
Paul widened his eyes in shock at the sound of the name. Henry squinted at his face, realizing Paul knew who Hutton was.
“Tell me, who is he?” Henry demanded. “I’ve searched everywhere and he seems to be like a ghost.”
Paul glanced at Henry’s face with his lips still apart in shock. He circled his lips and let out some air from his mouth.
“There are two well known FOX Agents in the world today, that’s you, Carl and Rex. There was one who was as ruthless as the both of you, his hands were like machines when he used guns, his fists were dangerous and his feet were as fast as those of a Cheetah.”
Henry’s brain did the searching while Paul talked and a picture of a man came to his mind.
“Agent H Force?”
“Yes, H Force.”
Henry turned forward and stared thinly with his mouth now open in surprise. He knew Agent H Force and had been on the same team with him on two operations while in the FOX. Agent H-force, as he was fondly called was the most brutal man he ever saw in the FOX. While Rex and Carl were in training H-Force was already the FOX’s best. He was like a one-man army, not just in strength but in wisdom.
“Hughes Kanwa was his real name, Hutton Ryker was his registered Agent name but he was called H-Force by everyone. He was dismissed many years about eighteen years ago for insubordination and compromise. We never saw since then.”
Henry now realized why he had not been able to get information about Hutton Ryker. The name Hutton Ryker was not registered in the database and the records of a man dismissed from the FOX many years ago were not available for Henry to check.
It was obvious to Henry now why Hutton Ryker had always had exceptional strategies and why he always had to escape narrowly. He only wondered why Agent H-Force had not chosen to stand face to face with him.
He recalled an event several years ago on the battlefield. After the battle had gone sour and they had to retreat immediately. There was a young wounded Agent on the field who couldn’t move. No one was willing to risk their lives to help or take that wounded soldier. Agent H-force was the man who carried the young wounded Agent on his shoulder, running for almost one hour as the enemies pursued. Agent H-force did not leave the young agent until they got to safety.
That young agent was him, Carl Winston.
To be continued.