® 18+ SNVL
© Oluwatosin Emmanuel Oyinloye
Edited by Blessing Joy
Henry stepped in and proceeded towards his room. He almost walked into Maxwell as he entered into the hallway.
“Good morning, boss,” Maxwell greeted.
“Good morning, Max,” Henry replied and stopped. He turned and stared at Maxwell who was also looking at him. He had his eyes squinted as he considered a thought. “Where’s your working phone, I think you need to do something now?”
“I left it in the room,” Maxwell answered, already turning back. Henry thought of following him but stopped.
“Dave’s in the room?” Henry asked.
“Yeah, I left him there,” Maxwell nodded.
Henry hesitated for a while. “Get the phone and meet me in the lounge.”
“Okay, I’ll be with you in a second,” Maxwell shrugged and turned towards the room.
Henry turned back and headed for the lounge to wait for Maxwell.
In less than two minutes, Maxwell had joined Henry in the lounge.
“I’m here with the phone,” he stated as he sat in the sofa close to Henry’s.
“You need to call Emily,” Henry began, making expressions with his hands. Maxwell lifted his face and narrowed his eyes at him, wondering why he had to call the club director. “You guys have a fantastic relationship already, right?”
Maxwell raised a brow. “Yeah, a great business relationship.”
“Yeah, you need to build more than just the business relationship,” Henry explained. “We might need some useful information from her. You can only get that if you build an informal relationship with her.”
“So, what are you suggesting?” Maxwell questioned, somewhat eager and impatient.
“You profiled her after your first meeting, right?”
“Yes, I did,” Maxwell replied and then cleared his throat. “She’s in her mid-thirties, has managed two clubs before DIA with a good success rate.”
Henry squinted. “Don’t you have something more personal?”
“She’s with a kid, went through a dirty divorce three years ago…”
“Yea, that’s more of it,” Henry cut in. “To me, she looks single currently. Doesn’t she?”
“I can’t tell, I just got her public profile. Nothing more,” Maxwell said and rubbed his nose gently.
“We’ve got to try get personal with her,” Henry continued. “Call her now and ask if you can take her for lunch.”
Maxwell widened his eyes at him.
“Yea?” Henry sneered. “You’ve got to do it and make sure you’re creative and convincing enough.”
Henry fixed his eyes on him for about thirty seconds as he tried to think of what to say.
Maxwell made a grunting sound as he finally picked the phone to dial Emily’s number. Henry kept his gaze on his face while Maxwell managed to look away.
The call connected and Emily answered almost immediately. Maxwell let out a breath before he spoke.
“Good morning, Ma’am. It’s Oliver again,” he stated calmly.
“Morning, Mr Oliver. I know it’s you, I saved your digits,” Emily answered pleasantly.
“How did the party go last night? I heard there were security issues after I left last night,” Maxwell stated.
“Yeah, but it’s definitely nothing to worry about. We’re very conscious of security here and the police have already taken care of it,” Emily replied in a reassuring tone.
“Okay, I was just wondering what could have gone wrong. Everything seemed perfect while I was there.”
“Yeah, the party was perfect. It was actually one of the VIP club members who attracted some bad guys. But we’ve got it all sorted out already. You have nothing to be worried about our security.”
“Okay, if you say so.”
“Absolutely, Mr Oliver. You can trust my words, but if you have any other questions regarding our security or any other thing, you can always ask me.”
“Oh, well…” Maxwell took a brief paused as he realized it was the opportunity he had been waiting for. He had to use it well. “I don’t have any questions, for now, it’s just another day here in Benuit and I’ve been trying to get myself acquainted with the place. It’s just been quite difficult with no one to guide me,” Maxwell added a chuckle to make his voice sound as cheerful as possible.
“Oh! It’s always like that for some visitors. Have you got no business engagements for the day?”
“Yea, that’s why I’m quite bored.”
“Well, you could drive around town. I’m sure you’ll find some really nice places.”
“Oh, thanks. I guess I’ll try that.”
“You’re welcome. I’ll also be expecting the feedback from your organization.”
“Sure, I would let you know as soon as we’ve made our decision.”
“Great,” Emily remarked.
“Yeah, thanks for your time. I will keep in touch,” Maxwell said, concluding the call. His eyes met with Henry’s surprised gaze and he could imagine what was running through his mind.
“It’s no problem, Mr Oliver…”
“Ermm… Ma’am,” Maxwell interrupted, sounding like an idea just popped into his mind. “Would you mind joining me for lunch this afternoon? It could be at any location of your choice or even the DIA restaurant.”
There was silence from the other end and Maxwell could tell she was having it a bit difficult to decide.
“It’s fine if you can’t,” Maxwell stated when her reply wasn’t forthcoming. “I would have just loved to enjoy lunch with a familiar person but I perfectly understand if you have other engagements…”
“No, Mr Oliver…” Emily cut in. “I would have loved to join you but there’s so much to do at work. I’m sorry, I could make it up to you at another time.”
“You don’t have to be sorry ma’am, I understand perfectly.”
“As I said before, I will be in touch soon.”
“And I will be expecting your call.”
Maxwell heaved a sigh after dropping the call. He looked at Henry’s face and noticed he wasn’t looking as disappointed as he thought he would be.
“That was a nice trial,” Henry commended. Maxwell stared at him unbelievably. He didn’t think he had done well. “Trust me, if she doesn’t have any engagement at the moment, she would come around.”
“How can we be so sure of that?” Maxwell asked in a doubtful tone.
“She finds you attractive,” Henry stated.
Maxwell widened his eyes at him.
“Yeah, I saw the way she stared at your face while you introduced us at the party last night,” Henry explained, trying to picture the scenario the night before.
Maxwell chuckled. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I didn’t notice that.”
Henry rose slowly from the sofa with a smile on his face. He bent slightly towards Maxwell, staring directly into his eyes. “Most ladies who find you interesting would not let you catch them staring at you.”
He brushed Maxwell’s face lightly with his palms and then turned towards the hallway. Another idea came into his mind and he turned immediately. While Maxwell made the call, he had been trying to process some thoughts in his mind, regarding distracting Hutton more.
“I need you to do something else for us, Max,” he cleared his throat.
Maxwell stared back attentively.
“Hakim was one of Trip’s close friends, they came into the club together that night. You can extract his phone number from Trip’s phone. We need to track Hakim, try and get enough details as soon as possible. We will be needing them today.”
“Alright, boss,” Maxwell responded by getting up immediately.
Henry turned back but instead walked back to the verandah where he was earlier. He met Samantha still standing there. She turned on noticing someone just joined her there.
“Have you spoken with Jennifer this morning?” He asked before she could say anything.
“Yeah, she was preparing to go to the kitchen when I left the room. I was planning to join her there soon.”
Henry did not comment but just placed his arms on the handrails gently.
“Have you called Anthanna?” Samantha asked, wondering why he was silent.
“Not yet,” Henry answered without giving her a look. He stayed quiet for some more seconds and then faced her. “There’s something we need to do, Sam.”
She stared directly into his eyes, paying rapt attention.
“You’d be working with Dave,” Henry continued.
“Is he still in?” She cut in.
“Yea, I think so. Maxwell said he was in the room.”
“You’d be working with him to track down Trip’s friend, Hakim.”
“Trip’s friend? We need to know his movements?”
“Yeah, but not just that. He’s gotta go.”
“We kill him?”
“Yeah,” Henry nodded.
“What’s that gonna achieve?”
Henry was quiet for a while but then readjusted himself and continued to explain. “We need to give Hutton more distractions, make him believe that the attempt last night was not directed towards him. So, you’d track Hakim with Dave. It has to be when he is alone and in a way that he would know that you are following him. Once he knows someone is after him, he would panic and make contact one or two persons. After he makes the contact, we take him down and get his phone.”
Samantha stared hard at Henry, trying to understand his plan. “So, we would be tracking the contacts we find from him instead but will distract Hutton with his death?”
“That’s right,” Henry nodded.
“It seems like a good one,” Samantha remarked. “So, when do we do this.”
“It would be perfect if it happens as soon as possible. Preferably, today. I already asked Maxwell to place tabs on him, he will feed you with details and you follow the plan once Hakim is alone. You might also get to see him with other people. Take note of everyone.”
“Understood,” Samantha replied.
“So, tell Dave about this while I go make the call to Anthanna.”
More than thirty minutes after he returned into the room, Dave laid with half of his body in the bed while his feet were placed on the ground. He was yet to take off his clothes nor his shoes.
He kept thinking about the hot argument between him and Henry. It was obvious Henry had told him the truth but he struggled within himself to accept it. The failure of the previous mission was also something he was yet to get over.
Many of the words which he said to Henry had come from an angry heart. He knew he couldn’t take his words back, neither did he wish to. Even though it had led to an argument, he still felt better revealing his mind.
However, the thoughts that bothered him more was he being stupid because of love like Henry had suggested. He also thought about Jennifer and Cole. It was a wonder to him how Jennifer had been in love with Cole without anyone else knowing, well, except for Henry who had just revealed it.
It never occurred to him that way. But now that he discovered, it seemed to have softened his mind towards Jennifer. He also made up his mind not to be the next to let the team down. He had to tread with caution, else his feelings for Evelyn may get in the way as Henry had warned.
The door opened and someone stepped into the room. Dave did not bother to check whom it was, believing it was Maxwell who shared the room with him. It wasn’t until the person came closer that he realized it wasn’t Maxwell. He sat up quickly.
“Hi Dave,” Samantha stood beside the headboard and leaned back against the wall.
“Sam,” Dave raised his face to look at her, hoping she wasn’t there to ask about his argument with Henry.
“We have a task to work on together.”
“What task?” Dave’s eyebrows gathered together.
“Kill Hakim, Trip Jones’ friend.”
Henry had picked his phone and returned to the verandah. He took with him a plastic seat this time around. After dialling Sheila’s number, he settled on the chair. It took some time for Sheila to answer the call.
“Hi, Henry. How are you?” She said from the other end.
“I’m fine, Sheila. I trust you’re doing good too,” Henry replied.
“Yes, I am,” Sheila answered. “I got your text last night. What was it about?”
Henry seemed somewhat shocked. “Don’t tell me you’re yet to do anything about it.”
“Of course, I’m working on it already but you’re putting me through a whole lot of stress this morning. It’s quite difficult to find people to do this kind of job. It’s unethical for me and I could get into trouble if any of them decides to report to the authorities.”
“I trust you can pick the right people,” Henry replied. “And once they receive payment, they can no longer report you. Reporting you means implicating themselves.”
“I know that, Henry. Now, tell me what it is about,” Sheila requested.
“I just needed to protect a member of my team,” Henry explained.
“I think they need to apply more caution,” Sheila advised. “And isn’t it possible that you guys don’t kill people?”
Henry chuckled at her words, they sounded unbelievable. “We’re dealing with terrorists, Sheila. If we don’t kill them first, they kill us and kill thousands of other people.”
He heard Sheila’s sigh over the phone. “I understand, but you could be more careful not to leave your prints.”
“Yea, this one just happened unexpectedly. I hope the team is on already.”
“Yes, they’re working.”
“Thank you, I just needed to confirm from you.”
“You have nothing to worry about.”
“So, how’s your Dad and how have you been coping with his return?”
“It’s not been bad,” Sheila answered. “He lets me go out now, but I have to be heavily guarded all the time.”
“I think that’s the best, for now, you’ve gotta be safe. Does he know of my last visit?”
“No, he doesn’t have an idea of that.”
“That’s good, at least, I won’t be a bother to him.”
“Yeah, for now.”
“And how’s your friend, Adrian?”
“Adrian is doing great.”
“Nice to know,” Henry chuckled. They continued with some other casual conversation for a few more minutes.
Hutton, Kahn, and Chanda were sitting at the same table, reviewing the footages from the club. They had just located the part where Henry had gone in with Samantha. Even though the camera had captured from a distance and had not even gotten Henry’s face, they knew it could be none other than him.
“I don’t understand why Carl would come to the club, cause an explosion outside, kill only Trip and leave. Doesn’t make sense to me,” Kahn remarked.
“It makes no sense to me either,” Hutton joined. “The explosion, the attack on the security guards, and all other events do not connect at all.”
“Can we just confirm that it was really Carl Winston?” Chanda suggested. “We can‘t see his face in these footages. We may be mistaking him for someone else.”
“Carl wouldn’t be so dumb to come into such a party without wearing a face disguise,” Hutton pointed out. “Even if we see the face, it may never look like him.”
“But we can retrieve the videos and pictures taken from the event hall to confirm,” Kahn suggested. He glanced at Hutton to see if he was cool with his suggestion. “I would have to request for that again.”
“You can, but I think we have more to do than confirming if it was really Carl. After we do that, we need to know if they had plans beyond killing Trip.”
At that moment, Kahn’s phone rang and distracted them. Kahn picked the phone from the table to check the caller.
“I need to take this, it’s from the club’s security head,” He said, getting up to answer the call.
“Don’t forget to request for the pictures,” Chanda replied him.
Kahn nodded in silence as he walked a few metres away.
He returned about two and a half minutes later and positioned himself on the seat before saying anything.
“The antibomb squad confirmed that the explosion wasn’t caused by a dangerous device, it couldn’t have caused any deaths even if people were around,” Kahn began to relay the message delivered to him by the security head official.
“That’s obvious, we saw the impact,” Hutton remarked. “It wasn’t so much. The explosion was just some sort of distraction, there was a bigger goal.”
“And we don’t know what that bigger goal is?” Chanda put in.
“We can’t tell for now but I still don’t think Carl would do all that just to kill Trip and leave,” Kahn answered.
“He could have killed Trip without the explosion since he was in already,” Hutton added. “I think the lady who walked in with Carl was Trip’s killer.”
“The police are already requesting for the footages,” Kahn stated, facing Hutton. “Do we have to remove the parts that captured Carl?”
“No, we don’t. They cannot identify him even if they see him there. He was careful not to look straight at any camera and must have also had a face disguise. So, they won’t identify him and would not be able to link him to us in any way.”
“What about Trip’s death, is there any way it could be linked to us?” Chanda asked.
“No, Trip is just a VIP member of the club,” Kahn replied.
“Since they cannot identify the killers, they can’t link his death to us or the management of the club,” Hutton added to Kahn’s answer.
“The official also said, they’ve been able to find fingerprints on Trip’s dead body,” Kahn mentioned. Hutton turned to him with a surprised look.
“Fingerprints?” Hutton raised a brow. “Carl wouldn’t send an amateur who would leave fingerprints on the body of the victim.”
“I was told that the forensics found fingerprints on his body,” Kahn insisted.
“We need to go to the club and listen in details to the report,” Hutton suggested.
The nightclub was silent as it would always be during the day time. The main hall was totally empty and so silent that even a pin drop could be heard.
Emily was sitting alone in her office and seemed to be rushing some work on her laptop when the visitors walked in. It was Kahn, Hutton, and Chanda.
“Good afternoon, sir,” she got up in respect.
“Good afternoon, Emily,” Kahn offered her a handshake and then unbuttoned his suit jacket before he took the seat. Hutton and Chanda were also dressed in suits, but unlike Kahn, they had no tie on.
Hutton settled in the second visitors’ chair in front of Emily’s table while she hurried to get another chair for Chanda.
“I wasn’t expecting you, I had plans to give you a report via phone call in some minutes,” Emily said to Kahn as she returned to her seat.
“I’m here now, you can tell me all I need to know,” Kahn replied. “I also called the head of security, he’ll be here soon.”
Emily took in a breath before she began to speak.
“The police left about thirty minutes ago, after examining the room where the murder took place. They also questioned some of our girls.”
“Did they make any reasonable conclusion?” Kahn asked.
“No, but they asked us not to open until the preliminary investigation is concluded. They didn’t say how long it will take.”
Kahn glanced at Hutton.
“Shouldn’t take more than 2 days,” Hutton shrugged.
“Would we lose any business deal within those 2 days?” Kahn turned back to Emily.
“No, except for the usual night parties.”
“Good,” Kahn cleared his throat. “But you need to reach out to everyone we have unconcluded business with and let them know they have nothing to worry about, regarding our security and organizing their party.”
“I’ve been doing that already, sir.”
“And what else do…” A knock sounded at the door at that time and Kahn paused.
“That must be Mr Wright,” Emily said. Only a staff member at the club could have walked up to her door without her getting prior information of a visitor. “Come in, please,” she said aloud.
The door opened and Wright walked in as expected.
“Good afternoon, sir,” he bowed slightly in greeting Kahn.
“Good afternoon, Mr Wright,” Kahn replied. “I was told the police officers left not too long ago.”
“Yes, and the club would be close from tonight.”
“I was told that too,” Kahn replied. “Is there anything else we need to know?”
“We are taking care of everything, and helping the police with their investigation.”
“You said the police found fingerprints on the dead body,” Kahn asked to confirm.
“Yes, we are quite certain that the fingerprints were those of the murderer. There seemed to have been some kind of struggle before the man was killed, so the killer left so much of her prints.”
“And did they confirm that the murderer was a woman?” Kahn asked.
“Yes, during the struggle, she dug her nails into the victim’s body. The police found the marks.”
“What else do we need to know?”
“The fingerprints were matched to some marks on the walls too,” Wright continued. “She must have struggled to leave the place. They traced the prints to the restroom. I guess she washed her body there.”
Kahn scoffed. “So, the bleeping killer still had time to wash her body? What the f***! What’s wrong with our security? And was she captured by any of the cameras?”
“We don’t use cameras in that section because most of the guests always want to protect their public image,” Wright explained. “That’s why we search for everyone before they enter, we make sure they don’t go in with metals or other harmful items.”
“So, where did the murderer get the bottle from?” Kahn asked.
“She had access to the staff room,” he answered.
Kahn heaved a sigh.
“You’ve got to keep following the police investigation, and keep me informed always,” Kahn instructed.
Somewhere in Benuit
“We have our eyes on Hakim,” Samantha said into the mouthpiece attached to her shirt. She and Dave were sitting in the car, Dave at the driver’s seat while she was at the passenger’s.
Hakim and three other men had just stepped out of an electronic shop after purchasing some items. Two of the men walked to the boot to place the items there while Hakim walked to the driver’s side.
“Is he alone?” Henry asked from the other end.
“No, with three others,” Samantha answered.
“If you get a clear view of the men, take a good picture.”
“Keep following until he’s alone,” Henry instructed