Location: Queen Land, Bexford Bethanna.
Henry took in a deep breath as he stepped outside the cab. He looked around the place slowly and closed his eyes. He was back where it all started, he was back in Bexford, the home city of the FOX.
He was dressed in a blue pull over and black jean trousers. He had a white face cap on and white trekkers to match. He also had dark sunshades covering his eyes and a golden necklace on top of his pull over with the pendant resting at the middle of his chest. He had a different walking aid in form of a waking stick in his hand which he now used instead of his crutch.
He stood still for a moment and watched the cab drive away. He raised his phone to check the time, it was thirty minutes past nine pm. He turned from the road. Right behind him was the house he had lived with his family for six years. He continued walking as he noticed a big padlock at the gate. He looked around as he walked past the gate, trying to see if there was any watchful eyes.
QueenLand was as quiet as it was seven months ago. The peacefulness and quietness of the place was one of the reasons Henry had chosen the location for his residence. Another important reason was the quality of the population. The population was low and made of mainly professionals and rich businessmen with their families. It was also well secured and barely had reasons to be in the news for something bad.
There were very few people on the road and also very few vehicles. That part of the town had strict laws that restricted movements from ten pm and that with the already low population resulted in the less use of roads at nights.
He continued walking till he got to the end of the road which was a T section leading into two other two-lane roads of opposite direction traffic.
He crossed over the lanes to the store at the other side. He walked in and purchased a pack of milk and a pack of cassava flakes. He returned with the nylon bag in direction of the house again. He stopped after he crossed the road and took out his phone from the pocket of his pull over, he opened an application and typed in some settings before returning it into his pocket. He continued walking.
He was getting close to the house when the phone rang. He stopped and took a step back. He took out the phone. “150 metres close to selected location,” the notification on the screen showed boldly.
He clicked the volume down button of the phone to stop the ringing. He moved away from the shoulders of the tarred road and moved closer to the fence of a facility. He leaned his body against the wall and raised his head, his eyes began to move to and fro, moving from one street light stand to another.
He was trying to recall the points where the street cameras were hidden on the streets.
After a minute, he opened another application on his phone and set a timer to sixty seconds. He began to walk immediately after clicking on start, this time without his walking aid.
He got to the front of the gate in less than one minute. He turned off the timer and opened the stop watch, he made it to begin the reading before he returned the phone in his pocket. He placed his walking aid against the wall and took out a small round leather purse from his pocket. He took out two screw-driver like tools and began to work on the padlock. In less than a minute, both arms of the padlock got unhooked. Henry pushed in the gate gently and walked in the compound.
The place was dark, the lights had been turned off, there was only a faint reflection of light on the streets. It was six months of no one living in it and he could imagine how dirty the place would be.
As he proceeded towards the entrance of the house, memories of his son and his wife returned to his mind and they looked so real.
The lights came on. He saw his wife standing at the balcony, holding Kellar by her right hand and both flashing their teeth at him. He saw the cars parked at the car garage. He also saw the gardener at an angle in the compound and the maid at the entrance, standing behind Sarah, dressed in her smart uniform.
He shook his head to dismiss the painful imagination of the past. He heaved a sigh and marched forward quickly. Soon, he got into the living room of the house. He took out a Torchlight and did not bother to turn on the lights. Apart from not wanting the lights in the building to attract attention, he also knew there was a possibility that the house had been disconnected from electricity since it had not been inhabited for more than six months. He made his way to the study, the room where he worked from whenever he was at home and where he hid some things.
Inside the study was dusty as expected and even stuffier than the other parts of the house. He proceeded slowly and gently with his walking aid. He stopped when his head caught a web of spiders hanging down from the ceiling. He cleared it off and proceeded.
The study was still the way he left it on the thirtieth day of March. There were no signs of anyone visiting to search for anything. He proceeded to the shelf at the right side, he moved away a pack of arranged compact disks to give access to the wall behind.
He moved everything from that part of the shelf to an empty space. He stretched his right hand in and began to touch the wall with his fingers as if he was searching for something. For a moment, nothing happened and he stopped to check if he was touching the right place. He took three steps back towards the center and had a quick view of the whole shelf, he confirmed that he was at the right point. He stepped closer again and repeated the same process, only touching it harder this time around.
He stepped back as some lines of rectangle began to form around the area, it was a small 15cm by 10cm rectangle. After the lines of the shape formed clearly , it moved in slowly, revealing a clean cubic hole in the wall. Henry looked in, there were buttons numbering 0 – 9 arranged on the wall and the end of the hole. He stretched his right hand in and held the torchlight with the left. He punched in some codes and took out his hand.
He stepped back and turned expecting a response.
Soon, the walls at his right hand side split open to form a short entrance into another room. He walked in through the entrance immediately. He tapped on the switch on the wall and the lights came on.
The brightness of the bulb lightening the room surprised him. The power source for the bulb was the same source for the security mechanism used to open the entrance and it worked differently from the electricity source of the whole house. Henry was impressed that the cells had remain strong even after having not being charged for over six months.
The room he entered into was a small one with an area of only six squared metres. Close to the walls were he hung few guns of different sizes and boxes of bullets , on another side, five labelled briefcases placed on each other were laid on a small opened cupboard. He moved first towards the briefcases. He touched the one in the middle and pulled it out from the rest. He checked the label to be sure of what he took out before he turned towards the gun, his eyes search around to make a decision of which one to choose.
This part of the house was his secret room, even Sarah never knew about it. He had kept the room for emergency cases when he needed to use a weapon and he couldn’t return to the FOX office to get, either because of not wanting to be traced there or not wanting to make the request from the FOX management. And though the weapons he had were not as sophisticated as the ones he could get from the FOX office, they were still good and useful for an emergency.
He dropped the briefcase on the ground and turned to the right hand side to pick a big backpack hung on the wall. He open the backpack and placed it on the ground, he began to select the guns he needed.
Mark woke up to find himself alone in the room. He was tied to a chair and his mouth was gagged. He struggled to move but the ropes were so tight he had to stop, he knew he would only injure himself if he continued to struggle.
He turned his eyes towards the window, trying to find out what time of the day it was but the thick curtains were drawn and he couldn’t tell if it was bright outside the house or not.
He did not know how he got to where he was at that moment but he was sure it had to be somewhere in Bexford.
Less than forty eight hours ago, he had opened his eyes after a very short period of unconsciousness to find himself tied in this same manner but without a gag. His vision was blurry for the first few seconds but then he could still see the image of a man sitting right in front of him. When his vision became clearer and he saw the man’s face well, he still did not know who he was. He then remembered what happened before he became unconscious, how he had stepped out to check his car and suddenly met an unknown figure hiding behind his car.
“Who are you and what am I doing here?” he asked immediately after looking round to see if he could guess from the things around.
“My name is Carl, but you would call me Henry.” the man sitting in front of him had replied.
He raised his brows. He had never met this man in his life, he thought.
“Who the hell wants to know your name or what you want to be called?” He asked, but only to himself, he did not voice it out. “What am I doing here?” Mark spoke aloud, trying to put on a bold composure even though he was very afraid.
Henry picked his crutch and got up from the chair. He turned to the back of the chair and stood behind it. He stared at the man’s face in his upright position for a while and then bent forward, placing his elbows on the backrest of the chair.
“You are here to lead me to the Red Wolves, or your platoon commander.”
Mark stared at him with confused eyes. He felt the man was drunk. He wasn’t a soldier, so he wondered why he would be asked to lead someone to a platoon commander.
“Look here man, you are mistaken here, you got the wrong guy. I work at the sea, I don’t work in the army.” He replied in a tough voice.
“Don’t joke with me Mark, you would lead me to your boss in the Red Wolves and you don’t have a choice.”
Mark squeezed his face bitterly. “I’ve got no idea of what you are talking about.”
Henry stared at him calmly. He stood upright for some seconds and then returned to his seat, with his gaze fixed on Mark’s face. He tried to read Mark’s expression and it proved positive that Mark was confused. But Henry did not want to be deceived by the expression, it was possible that Mark was just a good actor.
“In what capacity do you work for the Red Wolves?”
“Hey man! I don’t know whatever this Red Wolves you are talking about is.”
Henry pulled out a gun and kissed his chest with it. “You seem to think I’m joking, no one knows you’re here, I can get this bullet into your heart this minute.”
“I… I… Don’t know what you are talking about,” Mark replied in a shaky voice. He was now trembling and sweating.
Henry uncocked the gun to give him a benefit of doubt. He could have just been contacted to drop the body only.
“So, six months ago, you and two other men were seen at the Nura River, dropping a body in a body bag there.”
Mark’s eyes widened as Henry began to talk about the body at Nura.
Henry noticed his response. “Why did you kill that man?”
“We didn’t kill him, I swear. We only tried to help him but he died in our hands.” Mark replied in shaky tone.
“You tried to help him? How?”
“We were at the Bexford sea when we saw him dropping into the sea. He had been shot thrice but he was still alive. We took him in our ship and tried to help him but he died while with us, we didn’t want to get into trouble, so we had to drop it somewhere nobody would discover.” Mark answered.
“Do you know who killed this man?”
“No, we only saw him falling into the sea.” Mark replied, shaking his head.
“What else do you know about the body?”
Mark shook his head in reply, afraid to say anything about Odio’s involvement.
“Of course, you know something else, start talking now.” Henry said and threatened with the gun again.
“Someone came asking us about the body some few weeks ago…”
Mark had gone ahead to tell Henry of Odio’s visit and the picture he was given by Eddy. Henry had at the end introduced himself to Mark as the man whose body was left at the river. Mark did not believe at first because he was sure that the man died before they dropped the body in the Nura River. It was only after he had a closer look at Henry’s face and compared it with the picture he was given by Eddy that he believed.
Henry had kept him hostage since then and told him they were going to Bexford together, but Mark never knew how they got to Bexford because he was drugged and left asleep for several hours.
He was worried about his wife and kids. The last time he disappeared that way, the wife had reported him missing to the police before he suddenly showed up again. He had to do a lot of explaining to the police. He knew she would be so troubled again by his absence and could have done something more than reporting to the police this time. He didn’t have his phone to call her.
The door to the room opened twenty minutes after Mark woke, Henry walked in, carrying a pack of food.
“Hey man, you must be so hungry.” Henry said as he walked in. He dragged a footstool at the corner of the room and placed it in front of Mark.
He placed the food on it and opened the package before he removed the gag and untied Mark’s hands.
“Eat now,” Henry said and took some steps back.
“What are we doing in Bexford? My family would be so worried about me,” Mark asked instead.
“Eat!” Henry said in a command tone.
Mark shook his head stubbornly. He was hungry but not interested in the food than he was in knowing why he was there.
“I’ve taken care of your family, I helped you send a message to them and told them you’d be returning soon.”
Mark frowned. “How did…”
“Eat dude! Before you force me to do something to your wife and kids,” Henry threatened. He did not mean his threat. He was never going to hurt an innocent family after he knew the pain of losing his but he knew the threat was strong enough to be used against Mark.
“Please don’t touch my family, I will do whatever you say I should do.” Mark begged.
“Then eat,” Henry replied.
Mark picked up the cutlery and began to eat. He was still not sure of what he was doing with this man who had risen from the dead. The thought of this alone made him scared of Henry.
Henry moved closer to the wall and leaned against it, he watched until Mark finished eating the food.
“I would let you go back to your family as soon as I confirm that you are not in anyway working with the Red wolves, but for now you’d have to lead me to that man called Odio tomorrow.”
Mark widened his eyes at Henry at the mention of Odio’s name. He was terribly scared of meeting with Odio again after the terrible experience he had few weeks ago.
“I’ll let you sleep on the mattress tonight,” Henry said, pointing to a mattress behind Mark. “But don’t try anything stupid.”
He picked up the used pack of food and walked out of the room, locking it from behind.
After some few minutes he settled into his room for the night. He took out his phone as he sat on a plastic chair. He scrolled through his call register and dialed Sheila’s number. The call was answered after it rang twice.
“Hey Henry,” Sheila’s voice revealed her surprise.
“Hi Sheila,” Henry replied. He felt some inner peace on hearing her voice, it felt as if he had been relieved from some of the stress of the day.
“I called several times earlier,” Sheila replied.
“Yes, I wasn’t with my phone then.”
They talked for some few more minutes before the call was ended. Henry dropped his phone on the bed and heaved a deep sigh.
He closed his eyes and tightened his fist, memories of his wife and child running through his mind again.