—09:00 AM —
“How many more minutes do we have to get to the monastery?” Henry asked the cab driver impatiently. He and Foden were sitting at the back of the cab which was stuck in traffic.
“It depends on how fast the traffic clears,” the driver answered. “If the road is free, it’ll take us less than ten minutes to get there.”
Henry checked the time on his phone again and sighed. “Rex must have gotten there already,” he whispered to Foden.
“That will be terrible,” Foden replied. “Let’s just hope he hasn’t gotten there yet.”
Henry took in a deep breath and returned to his quietness. He had nothing else on his mind except for his wife and child. He couldn’t wait to see them again and hold them.
At that point, the cab driver changed the station of the car radio to a news channel. A female newscaster was reading the news. She was already halfway through the particular story she was reporting
…our sources have yet to confirm whether or not the Bethannian President was caught in the explosion or not, but he’s most likely to be in any of the three locations targeted by the terrorists. The Bethannian Presidential Villa, one of the President’s personal houses, and a safe house of the FOX are the three locations the President have been seen in in the last twenty-four hours. More updates coming up on the story later. Now, we’re going to take a commercial break and will be back to continue with the International news today.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with our African countries and terrorism these days,” the driver lamented after hearing that part of the news. “We keep hearing news of bomb explosions every day,” he added and shook his head in pity.
Foden turned to look at Henry and saw that he was looking lost. His mouth was left ajar and his eyes were staring blankly.
“Carl, did you hear that?” Foden enquired. Henry was quiet. “Do you think the President could be dead truly?”
“I need to make a call,” Henry stated and turned his neck to Foden like a robot. He turned back to the driver almost immediately. “Can I use your phone to make a call sir?”
“Ermm…” the driver picked up a small phone. “I don’t have so much airtime, but you could tell the person to call you back,” he added before handing the phone to Henry.
“Thank you,” Henry took the phone and quickly dialed Maxwell’s international forwarding number.
The call was answered almost immediately.
“Hey, Max. It’s Henry. Would you call back please?” He requested briefly and ended the call without waiting for a response.
Maxwell returned the call immediately.
“I just heard the news of the explosions. How the heck did that happen when the FOX has Dexter Joe?”
“Hutton Ryker copied Dexter Joe’s fingerprints, so they did not need him to be there physically. The explosions went off simultaneously twenty minutes ago.”
“What about the President? Is he dead?”
“I don’t know,” Maxwell replied. “There has been no confirmation yet. Evelyn is not answering her calls.”
“Have you located the building now?”
“Yes, we have.”
“Are you on your way there?”
“No, the South Husan security forces have also located the place and they’re handling it. I’m also tracking them, six vehicles drove out of the place after the explosion. They must be members of the Red Wolves. They’re being pursued by the South Husan security forces, we’re only following closely.”
“Shi*t!” Henry cursed bitterly. He shut his eyes and took in some deep breaths. “I want you to follow closely. I’m quite sure that Hutton Ryker will not let himself get caught by the South Husan security officials. Please, track his moves as much as you can.”
Henry ended the call and held the phone tight in his hands for a moment before handing it back to the driver.
“Are you guys from Bethanna?” the driver asked after taking his phone, glancing at his two passengers. He got no reply from any of them and continued driving as the vehicles in front began to move at that time.
Fifteen Minutes Later
The cab finally dropped them off at the Monastery. Henry and Foden stepped out of the vehicle to meet a strange presence of the police outside the gate. They proceeded towards the gate immediately but were stopped by some policemen.
“We’re sorry, Misters. We can’t let you proceed,” the policeman that stopped them explained.
“What’s happening in here, officer?” Henry noticed that a part of the monastery inside was sealed with barricade tapes. “My wife and child are here and I need to see them right now.”
“You can’t go in right now, please,” the officer insisted. “Please make a phone call to whoever you’ve come to see.”
“I need to go in,” Henry insisted and tried to proceed forcefully but Foden stopped him and pushed him backward.
“Don’t be stupid, Carl,” Foden whispered into Henry’s ear as he pushed him backward. “Remember you’ve got a gun with you. If the police discover that, it’ll cause more trouble for you.”
Henry stopped and took in a breath. He had a gun at the back of his trousers which they had gotten from a connect on their way from the airdrome. If he tried to force his way in, the police could use force to restrain him and that could lead to searching his body.
“Mr Louis Carl,” a female voice called from behind.
Henry turned immediately to see a nun approaching him. He squinted at her face, wondering if she was referring to him. He had never seen her before.
“Are you Carl Louis?” the nun asked on getting closer to him.
“How may I help you, ma’am?” Henry asked, furrowing his brows.
The woman closed her eyes briefly and heaved a sigh of relief, making Henry wonder more.
“Your wife told me so much about you,” the nun continued. “She couldn’t stop showing your pictures to me and she was sure you’re alive.”
“How do you know my wife?” Henry asked.
“She lived here with us for months,” the nun answered. “With your son, Kellar.”
“And where are they now?”
“They left this morning,” the nurse answered and took out a piece of paper from her pocket. She handed it to Henry. “She asked me to give you this if you ever showed up here.”
Henry glanced at the piece of paper. There was a phone number on it. He sighed as there was no phone with him to call the number.
“Where did she leave to this morning?”
“I don’t know,” the nun replied. “Those who transferred her here have come to get her back.”
“I don’t understand,” Henry frowned.
“Your wife was transferred here months ago from a monastery in South Husan. They said some people were trying to ki*ll her. Last night, someone was sent to get her. They said those trying to ki*ll her discovered this place and were going to come. They left together this morning. Not too long after they left, a man came here looking for your wife. He killed three people before leaving.”
Henry and Foden glanced at each other. They knew the man who came looking for Sarah must have been Rex.
“Did they tell you where she was been taken to?” Henry asked the nun.
“No, they said it was better if I did not know.”
Henry glanced at the number on the sheet of paper again. “Would you let me use your phone to try this?”
The nun took out a phone and handed it to her. “You can have this. I bought it four months ago. Your wife asked me to get it. She said you might need a phone if you eventually come for her. When that man came looking for your wife today, I had to escape the monastery with these items so that he doesn’t get to me,” she explained. “May God be with you,” she added before walking away.
Henry sighed and only watched her walk away for a few seconds.
He unlocked the phone and quickly dialed the number on the piece of paper. A computerized voice responded saying the number he was calling had been barred from receiving calls. He tried again anxiously and got the same result.
“What the heck!” He cursed and quickly looked around to find the nun. She was nowhere around. “Damn!”
Foden took the piece of paper and phone from him and tried it. The response was the same.
“How the heck do we talk to her if the number would not connect?” Henry lamented.
“Maybe she didn’t leave the number for us to call it,” Foden opined. Henry stared at his face, wondering what he meant. “We can track it.”
Rex glanced took a long stare at the side mirror once again to confirm if he had lost the officer pursuing him. He couldn’t see any car that seemed to be pursuing him behind.
He tapped twice on the dashboard screen to zoom through the map and check his present location. After confirming where he was, he turned on the earpiece in his left ear and picked up his phone to dial a number.
“Hey, have you gotten the location?” he asked immediately the call was answered.
“Yeah, I think so,” a man replied from the other end. “You said it was a black jeep with tinted glasses right?”
“Yes, it was.”
“It’s on the third mainland bridge right now, heading to the Island,” the voice replied.
“Where the f*** is that?” Rex scoffed and then tapped a button on the screen. “I need directions to the third mainland bridge,” he said aloud and the device beeped in response to him. It took only a few minutes for the map to show him the direction.
“I got it,” Rex said to the person on the other end of the call. “It’s just fifteen minutes from here. Call me in ten minutes to give an update of the location.”
Rex ended the call and tossed the phone to the passenger’s seat. He looked into the side mirror closely again. A few seconds later, he pulled over and got out of the car. He looked around carefully before unhooking the plate number of his car. He replaced it with another which stuck easily to the magnetic coating.
“Where else are we going to?” the cab driver asked for the umpteenth time after Henry and Foden got back into the car.
Foden and Henry were busy with a tablet device, trying to track the number given to them by the nun. They had inserted the sim from the phone they got into Foden’s device to help them connect to the internet.
Foden looked up after his tracking software finally found the device’s location. “Do you know the third mainland bridge?”
The driver turned and raised his brows at them. “Yes, of course.”
“Take us there,” Foden instructed.
“Where exactly are you going to?” the driver asked with a look of disgust on his face.
“Just take us to the bridge,” Foden replied.
“The bridge is not a location,” the driver argued.
Henry heaved a sigh of frustration. He would have hijacked the car from the man if he knew his way around perfectly. The car did not have an inbuilt map system. He would have to be looking at the map on Foden’s device which would not be convenient and would also make them slower. They had a better chance of getting there earlier with someone who knew the way around.
“Listen, man. We’re trying to track someone and that’s the person’s current location. By the time you get to the bridge, we’ll let you know where to go,” Henry explained to him.
The driver looked back again, this time, he fixed his eyes on the device in Foden’s hand. “If that device is leading you, it should be in front here.”
Henry glanced at Foden who quickly stepped out of the car and joined the driver in front.
“I hope you guys will make full payment,” the driver remarked before starting the vehicle.
“Yes, we will. I can make an advance if you want,” Henry offered and quickly took out the wallet from his suit jacket. “How much will it cost us?”
“We’ve yet to end the trip, so I don’t know,” the driver replied. “But you can pay twenty thousand naira in advance.”
Henry began to count the money immediately.
“How long is it going to take us to get to the bridge?” Foden asked the driver.
“Fifteen minutes from now, if there’s no traffic jam.”
Foden and Henry glanced at each other again. The map they used on the device had suggested twenty-five minutes instead.
Henry handed the money to the driver. “Can you turn on your radio to the news channel?”
Samantha and Paul Edwards walked into the restaurant to meet Dave and Maxwell who were already waiting for them at a table.
“I don’t know whose idea it was to come to this restaurant, but it sure was a damn good idea,” Paul Edwards remarked as he settled on the chair tiredly.
“I think it’s time we take a rest,” Dave put in. “Some of us have barely slept since the last two days.”
Maxwell handed over the menu on the table to Samantha who was sitting directly opposite him. “We made our orders already.”
Samantha eyed him wickedly before taking the menu from him. Paul joined her to look into it.
A few seconds later, a waitress returned to serve Dave and Maxwell their meals. Samantha and Paul used the opportunity to tell her what they wanted.
“Anyone heard from Henry yet?” Samantha asked after the waitress walked away.
“Yeah, he called,” Maxwell replied and finished munching the piece of food in his mouth before he continued with his voice lowered. “He heard the news of the explosion and wanted to know how it happened. I explained how we couldn’t do anything to stop it because the Red Wolves had Dexter Joe’s fingerprints. He wanted to know if the President was dead or not and also wanted me to keep monitoring the Red Wolves convoy?”
“What did you tell him about the President?” Paul asked.
“What else could I tell him?” Maxwell shrugged. “It’s not confirmed yet, so we can never know.”
“The safe house that was bombed was one of the safest properties of the FOX,” Paul remarked.
“How the heck did the Red Wolves get it then?” Dave asked.
“I can’t tell,” Paul shrugged and turned to Maxwell again. “What about the Red Wolves convoy? You still monitoring them?”
“Nah,” Maxwell chuckled. “The last time I checked, they must have gotten into an airplane in Kebba. I don’t know where they’re headed to.”
“And you can’t find out?” Paul questioned.
“How do you expect me to find out?” Maxwell scoffed. “With my tablet device? I need a damn set up to continue with that.”
“I think you should let Sheila Jack help us with that,” Dave suggested.
“That’s a good one,” Paul remarked.
Maxwell sighed. “I’ll call her once I’m done with the food.”
The waitress arrived with Paul and Samantha’s food on a tray and began to serve them.
“Has Henry found his wife or child?” Samantha asked Maxwell.
“He didn’t mention that to me,” he replied briefly. “I think he borrowed a phone because he couldn’t speak and had to ask me to call back. I’m not so sure we’ll be able to get back to him.”
The waitress served the food and walked away.
Paul was about to start eating when his eyes caught something on the TV.
“That’s the FOX chairman,” he exclaimed and dropped his fork.
He got up and moved closer to the television. Dave also abandoned his food and joined Paul.
“Could you please increase the volume a little?” Paul requested from the waitress at the table.
— At the FOX’s Press Conference
There were flashes of light from different cameras from several angles in the conference room. The murmurings in the room increased as the FOX chairman walked to the stage. It suddenly turned dead silent again as soon as the Chairman cleared his throat to begin.
“Good day, ladies and gentlemen of the press,” Mark began in a sad tone. “It’s with deep regret that I announce the passing away of our dear President and the fifteen FOX men assigned to protect him. As an organization designed to fight terrorism and protect the interests of our nation, we tried our best to prevent this. Four days ago, we got intel that the President’s life was targeted by the Red Wolves. We swung into action immediately by increasing the President’s security and moving him to a safe place. Unfortunately, we were not able to determine the kind of threat we were dealing with until the final moments. No one would have ever thought that the attack against our President would be launched from one of our neighboring countries, South Husan. Due to jurisdiction issues, there was little we could do to determine the threat when we discovered what type it was. The government of South Husan will have to answer how their country has been turned into an operational centre for the Red Wolves, the most dangerous terrorist group currently on the surface of the earth. The FOX takes full responsibility for this failure and the death of our beloved President. But we promise that we’ll bring all those responsible for this attack to book, no one will be left out. While we’re investigating and trying to identify other possible threats and actions from the Red Wolves, we urge that every citizen of Bethannian remain indoors for the next 24 hours. As a country, we’re going to overcome this. Thank you.”
“Mr Chairman, are you trying to say the…”
“Chairman Mark, have any arrests been made?”
Several questions were thrown at the Chairman after his speech but he ignored them and simply walked off the stage.
Paul and Dave stared at each other’s faces in disbelief after listening to Mark’s speech. Some of the customers who were close to the television and had listened to the speech were also in awe.
They walked back to join the other two at the table quietly.
“What did he say?” Maxwell asked, barely letting them settle down.
Both Dave and Paul were too weak to talk. They sat down silently on the chair, staring blankly for a moment.
25 Minutes Later
The FOX Corporation,
EPA Hill, Bexford
“Sir, the Vice President is currently on the line and wants to speak to you,” the secretary announced to Chairman Mark as he walked past her table.
“Connect him to my line,” Mark replied and proceeded into his office. The landline phone on his table began to ring even before he could get to his seat.
He calmly took off his suit jacket and hung it before sitting. Then he took in a deep breath before answering the call.
“Good day, your Excellency.”
“Chairman Mark, what the f*** did you just do?”
“I just finished from the Press Conference, sir.”
“And what sh** were you saying up there? Are you trying to make us go to war with South Husan?”
“If that’s what it takes, sir. We’ll go to war with them.”
“Are you insane? You’re trying to shift the blame to another country instead of admitting that your organization failed?”
“No, I admitted that the FOX has failed,” Mark answered calmly. “But our President was f***ing killed by an explosive device that was set up in South Husan. Their government has questions to answer.”
“And it looks like you’ve completely forgotten that the FOX has a strong base in South Husan. You could have gotten your men to do the work there.”
“A strong base that’s still under the laws of the country?” Mark asked. The Vice President was silent. “When we finally get out of this whole Red Wolves’ mess, we’ll have to adjust some things. The FOX will have to go completely independent wherever we’re based.”
“I’m not sure you’d have the power to do that any longer,” the Vice President replied. “You failed woefully already. The President died under your watch. I’m returning to Bethanna soon and we’ll have to talk about your position.”
The call went off immediately.
“Damn!” Mark slammed his fists on the table after dropping the receiver.
He knew he was in a deep mess. The punishment for having the President die under your watch was more than just being removed from office, it also meant jail time.
A brief devilish smile appeared on Rex’s face as he finally identified the location which his connect sent to him.
“She’s trying to f***ing run,” he chuckled under his breath as he turned into the road and faced the gate of the aerodrome.
A man who he identified as a security officer s was waving him back from the gate, obviously telling him that entry was not permitted.
He took his hands off the wheel to prepare his guns and attached a silencer to one of them.
The security officer on seeing that the car still coming stepped onto the middle of the gate and continued waving him back.
“Hey, we’re closed for today, not taking any more bookings,” the man announced as the car got closer to him. It finally stopped just before the gate.
Rex could see the man squinting at him. He waited until the man began to walk towards his side of the car and then rolled down the bullet-proofed window glass slightly.
“Are you here to…” the man bent to look at the person in the car but was cut short as a bullet ran into his head.
Rex reversed his vehicles a few metres back and then surged forward, forcing the gate open.
It didn’t take him long to spot the runway where a plane was. He sped down the long way to the place.
Four men dressed in black suits and on dark sunshades stepped out of one of the facilities nearby and stood on the road, pointing their guns at him.
He stepped on the accelerator harder to further increase the speed and the men began firing at him immediately. He began to drift the car as he got closer while rolling down his windows at the same time.
The men fled the road to escape from being hit by the car. Rex halted the vehicle and began to fire with his guns at the same time.
*In the Airplane*
“What’s that mum?” Kellar quickly ran to the window side to peep as they began to hear the gunshots.
Sarah also joined her son to see what was happening outside the airplane. They saw the men firing at the car which was speeding towards them.
They watched the car drift and halt. Then, bullets began to fly out of the car at the same time.
The driver of the car stepped out after thirty seconds of bullets exchange, using the car as a shield as he continued firing at the other men.
In less than two minutes, the man was able to take down the four men. He then began to hurry towards the airplane.
It was when Rex turned towards them that Sarah recognized him.
She gasped in fear and sat back on the chair for a moment.
“Mummy, what’s happening? When are we leaving here?” Kellar held on to his mum again.
“Sister Florence Brown,” Sarah got up in panic and ran to the cockpit to check. There was no one there.
She quickly ran back and proceeded to the entrance of the plane. She tried to run down to look for Florence.
Unfortunately, Rex spotted her from afar and fired a bullet at her. She ran back into the plane after the bullet narrowly missed her.
To be continued