RESTLESS : The Hunt For Peace Episode 249

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Hutton walked hurriedly into the living room to pick up his ringing phone.

“Hello, Florence,” he answered the call, still standing.

“I left the hospital with our men ten minutes ago,” she reported from the other end.

“Do you have eyes on him?”

“There’s no need. He did not remove the chip,” Florence Brown replied.

“Why then did he visit the hospital?”

“Just to treat his bullet wounds. The doctor also confirmed that he treated a wound on his thigh where we inputted the chip,” Florence replied.

“And they didn’t take out the chip?”

“Yes, the doctor mentioned no chip.”

Hutton was quiet for a while.

“You’re still there?” Florence questioned after his prolonged silence.

“Yes, something seems off.”

“What do you think?”

“I think Rex would have suspected something about the wound on his thighs, especially if he doesn’t remember when he had it.”

“We created multiple scratches in his body apart from that, to make it look like a fall. Besides, he made the doctor treat him at gunpoint and tied him to a chair before leaving the hospital. The doctor has no reason to hide the truth about him.”

“Was it only one doctor that attended to him?”

“Yes, just one. It’s a small clinic with only one doctor. They don’t even have appropriate equipment there.”

“Okay, let’s just hope we’re right about this. Any information about his communication with Carl Winston yet?”

“Yes, we noticed some traffic flow from Adrian Christopher’s telephone. He’s been exchanging text messages and a few phone calls with a specific number. Unfortunately, the communication is encrypted by a difficult technology. We can’t intercept the messages or calls.”

“That must be Sheila Jack.”

“Yes, it is. But we’re sure Rex is going to ask her to meet with him wherever he’s going to.”

“You know what to do, Florence. You have to be ahead of them this time. If we mess this up, it’ll be the end of our game.”

“I know.”

______

09:35 AM

Carl stepped back into the living after going into the room to change his clothes. He also had a backpack strapped to his back. Paul Edwards was sitting in the living room while Sarah and Kellar were at the dining table.

“The cab I ordered has arrived,” Paul got up as soon as he saw Henry.

“Thank you,” Henry replied and collected the phone from him. “How soon will the chopper be ready?”

Paul quickly glanced at the wall clock. “In fifteen minutes,” he answered. “That’s before you get to the take-off point.”

“I can’t reach Mark now, I want you to let him know I won’t show up at the FOX office as we planned earlier. You should also tell the rest of the team when you have to.”

“I’ll handle everything, man,” Paul replied confidently.

Henry sighed deeply and his eyes turned in direction of his wife and son in the dining area. For some reason, he felt fear grip his heart. The thought of leaving them for the first time since reuniting scared him. He was afraid it could be his last time seeing them.

“You don’t have to worry about them, Carl. I’ll make sure they’re safe always,” Paul said in a reassuring tone.

Henry looked at his face and took in a deep breath. By the time he looked towards the dining area again, Sarah and Kellar were already making their way toward him.

“Honey, you’re ready to go?” Sarah asked with a sad look on her face while Kellar ran to hug his Dad.

“Yes, honey. I’m leaving now. I’ll be in touch with you, but please don’t hesitate to call me if you need anything,” Henry said as he hugged his wife and kissed her forehead.

“You don’t have to worry, we’re in good hands,” Sarah replied with a smile and then glanced at Paul Edwards.

“I see you guys soon,” Henry kissed his boy on the forehead and patted Paul on the shoulder before walking out.

______

El Deols, Anthanna

Sheila tried to wipe tears off her face from time to time as she drove. She was close to turning at a junction when the traffic light went red and she stopped. She picked up her phone to check the screen, forgetting that it was turned off.

She shut her eyes for a moment and sniffed in tears as her finger pressed the power button of the phone. Henry was on her way, she knew. But there was no way he would meet up at the time given to her by Rex.

Just like she expected, Henry had tried to call her several times and even dropped voice messages for her. At first, she ignored Henry’s messages and dialed Adrian’s number which Rex had used to call her. The call was answered almost immediately.

“Hey, Sheila Jack. You’ve got only forty minutes left, I hope you’re on your way here,” Rex asked from the other end.

“Yes, I am. Please, don’t hurt Adrian,” Sheila pleaded.

“I promised you I wouldn’t and I always keep my promise,” Rex replied. “What about you? Are you keeping your promise?”

Sheila’s lips trembled in fear.

“Don’t tell me you…”

“I didn’t…” Sheila interrupted him in a shaky voice. “I’m the only one coming.”

“Don’t let that change, ma’am. For this to work without anyone getting hurt, it has to be just you. Get to the station in thirty minutes and I’ll send you an address.”

“Okay,” Sheila mumbled before ending the call. She closed her eyes and blew out air from her mouth, her lips still trembling.

She looked at the traffic light again. It was still red. She picked up her phone again to play the two voice messages from Henry.

Sheila…You need to stop whatever you think you’re doing. Going to meet with Rex doesn’t guarantee that he’s gonna let Adrian go. Just stay wherever you are and wait until I get to El Deols.

Hello, Sheila. Call me as soon as you receive this message.

She dropped the phone for a moment and shut her eyes to think for a moment until she heard someone’s voice.

“Hey, you b**tch. You gotta drive off now and stop sleeping on the road!” An angry driver in the car by her right-hand side barked at her before driving off.

It was then she suddenly began to hear the horning sound of cars behind her. The light had changed to green without her realizing it.

She released the brakes and continued down the road immediately. She was yet to go far when her phone began to ring. She glanced at the screen and noticed it was Henry.

At first, she was determined not to answer until it began to ring a second time. She turned on her traffic indicator and soon pulled over.  She answered the call and put the phone close to her ear without saying anything.

“Thank God you answered, Sheila. Please, listen to me. You just need to wait until I get there. I’m about to get on the airplane right now and I’ll be there in an hour.”

Sheila did not say anything but Henry continued.

“Rex is not after you or Adrian, he’s after me. And he knows that he’s gonna get to me if he hurts you. Please don’t let him succeed. If you go there, he’s gonna keep you and Adrian to get to me. He only called you to get to me.”

“He asked not to tell anybody that I was coming to meet him,” Sheila finally replied.

“Yes, that’s normal protocol. He only wants me to know about it because he’s…”

“He doesn’t want you to know about it,” Sheila interrupted. “He made me promise not to tell you especially. He said he’d ki*ll Adrian if I did.”

“What…”

“I only told you because I couldn’t keep it to myself,” Sheila continued. “Now, you see why I have to go.”

“You’re not thinking this through, Sheila. He knew you were going to tell me. He planned all this…”

“I have very little time to get to the location he sent me, I have to go now.”

“Can you send me that location?”

“I have to go, Henry. I’m no longer in an encrypted location,” Sheila replied before ending the call.

She silenced the phone and then threw it into the backseat.

_ _ _

Bexford, Bethanna

“Damn it!” Henry struck his fists together in anger as he tried her number again and got no answer.

He was sitting in the airplane already and the pilot was getting ready to fly.

“We’ve got to hasten this up, man,” he yelled at the pilot. “I’ve got thirty minutes to get to a one-hour location.”

“There’s no way I go faster, sir. But I promise we’re going to get there in one-hour maximum.”

Henry sighed. He wished there was a way he could arrive there faster but the pilot was saying the truth. He dialed Sheila’s number again and she didn’t answer. He turned on flight mode before dropping his phone.

A breath escaped his lips again as the airplane began to move. His thoughts began to run wild and he imagined the possible outcomes – both the bad and the good ones.

He couldn’t understand what Rex’s mission was. First, Rex had gone for Sarah and Kellar and now he was going for Sheila. If he and Foden did not get to the airplane quick enough, Rex would have killed Sarah. Could that be the same purpose he had for Sheila too? To murder her? Henry thought. He was never going to forgive himself if she got hurt again because of him.

After the plane balanced in the air, he picked up his phone again. He opened the call register and stared at Sheila’s number for a while. The cellular network was unavailable and he couldn’t dial the number again but he began to recall all their past discussions on phone. He would be on air for more than forty-five minutes by which she would have already met Rex. There had to be a way for him to locate her when he landed, hoping it would not be too late by then.

A thought suddenly struck his mind as he remembered Sheila’s last sentence before she ended the call.

“I’m no longer in an encrypted location”

“Damn!” Henry cursed under his breath. He realized that she was giving him a signal to track her through her phone. ‘She was no longer in an encrypted location’ meant her phone could be tracked and her calls could be intercepted. While that was an advantage for Henry, it could also be a disadvantage.

_____

Bethanna Central Bank, 

Bethanna

 Around 09:40 AM

Maria, Jennifer, and Maxwell were in the surveillance room of the Central Bank building, monitoring the team there. They were all dressed in FOX aprons.

The Central Bank surveillance team was made up of twelve officials. Seven of them were sitting in front of a set of three desktop screens and each was responsible for monitoring different areas of the building. Two of the other five were responsible for checks and repairs if anything went wrong with the surveillance cameras while the three others were extra hands. That day, all of them were on duty at the same time.

Maxwell was standing behind the man sitting in front of the master computer system and was asking him a few questions when his phone began to ring. He took it out and saw Paul’s caller ID on the screen. He turned back and answered while walking toward Maria and Jennifer who were sitting in the middle of the room.

“Yeah?”

“Henry has traveled to El Deols and is not in the FOX operation center as preplanned. You will be hearing from the FOX directly if there are updates,” Paul on the other end went straight to the point.

“Why? What’s happening in El Deols?” Maxwell’s eyebrows gathered together.

“Rex Morris kidnapped Adrian Christopher and is going after Sheila. Someone has to stop him,” Paul explained.

“Oh, sh*t!” Maxwell exclaimed.

“But there’s nothing to worry about, man. Everything else will continue as planned. Just keep your end tight,” Paul replied before ending the call.

Maxwell sighed as he returned the phone to his pocket.

“What happened?” Jennifer asked impatiently.

“Henry is off to El Deols to stop Rex from hurting Sheila Jack,” Maxell summarized the message.

“How did Rex find Sheila Jack?” Jennifer frowned. “She can’t be tracked.”

“He kidnapped her boyfriend, Adrian, and I guess he’s using him to get to her.”

“F***!” Jennifer gasped.

“Do I need to know who got these names you’re mentioning?” Maria who was confused asked.

“No, it doesn’t affect us here,” Maxwell replied. “The only difference is that Henry is not in the FOX office as planned. We’ll continue with our task here.”

Maxwell turned and walked back to the main computer where he was standing previously. After a minute of staring at the screen silently, he turned back and looked around.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said aloud and paused to clear his throat. “As I said before, nothing suspicious must go unreported. Even if you see a man clenching his fists, do not ignore.”

Jennifer and Maria got up from their seats and decided to join Maxwell monitor briefly. They walked from one surveillance stand to the other, spending nothing less than two minutes behind each.

Jennifer was about to switch to another stand she noticed something.

“Hey, zoom that,” she pointed to one of the footage displayed. The man obeyed. “What’s that vehicle and why is it allowed in without being searched?”

Her question attracted Maria and Maxwell’s attention and they both walked toward the stand.

“It’s the waste disposal company,” the man sitting in front of the computer answered. “They just want to clear the trash and leave.”

Maxwell walked quickly to where the intercom was placed. He picked up the receiver and use the speed dial from the list on the paper beside the device.

“Stop that waste disposal van from moving further in and perform a thorough search now,” he ordered before dropping the receiver.

He walked back to the stand to watch. As directed, two armed soldiers stepped stopped the vehicle, and asked the men sitting inside to step out.

Soon, the van was opened from behind and the officers peeped from outside. One of the soldiers took out his communication device and faced the camera. The intercom beeped and the man behind it answered.

“It’s all waste in there,” the voice from the other end reported.

“We can’t be sure it’s all waste,” Maxwell replied. “Our instructions are to be certain of whatever is allowed to come into the facility. You need to scan it.”

The soldier seemed hesitant for a while before nodding to his partner to carry out the instruction. At the same time, another vehicle appeared behind them. The van was obstructing the passageway.

“Has that car been searched?” Maxwell threw his question to no one in particular.

“Yes,” another member of the surveillance team who had switched to the entrance gate answered. “It’s a visitor’s vehicle and the soldiers outside have searched it. I think the only vehicle they allowed to go in without searching is the van.”

The intercom beeped again.

“We will have to let the van get to the garage where the trash is before searching. We will be obstructing the way like this,” the soldier at the other end reported.

Maxwell sighed. He felt that the vehicle should have been searched properly before gaining entrance, but there was no way he could ask them to go back or search at that spot as there were two other vehicles now at the back.

“Let it go,” Maxwell finally permitted. “But keep your eyes on those two men.”

“Sir,” the leader of the Central Bank’s surveillance department approached Maxwell. “I understand the risk and know you’re trying to follow all instructions. But that’s our official waste disposal company. It’s a reputable company and the men at the gate would never have allowed them to come in without confirming where they’re from.”

“It doesn’t matter, sir. We still gotta check,” Maxwell insisted, staring at the man’s face with a brief cocky smile. The man gave up and returned to his position.

____

Meanwhile in El Deols >>> 09:40 AM

“Hey, man,” Rex had a cheeky smile on his face as he walked toward Adrian with a plate of food and a bottle of water. “I’m sorry that breakfast is coming late this morning.”

He dragged the footstool to Rex’s front and placed the food on it.

“It’s freshly prepared Bobotie,” he remarked as he opened the plate of food. “I know you guys love eating Bobotie here in Anthanna. “You like it?”

Adrian groaned uncomfortably.

Rex seemed to be disconnected from reality for a moment until he looked at Adrian’s face again. “Oh! Sorry man,” he quickly got up to untie Adrian’s hands and removed the gag from his mouth. “Hope you like it?” he repeated after untying him.

“What are you doing man? Just let me go,” Adrian scoffed. “I’ve not had decent sleep since yesterday and I stink so bad because you had me in your boot for a long time.”

“I’m so sorry about that, Adrian. But you have to eat now so that you can have the strength to argue with me later.”

“How much do you want? I can arrange for money right now. Just name it. How much?” Adrian offered.

Rex moved closer and patted him on the cheek. “I’m trying to be nice, man. Don’t push me. Now eat so that you can have enough strength.”

Adrian wasn’t ready to give up. “Why are you doing this?”

Rex frowned and took two steps backward. “I told you why I’m doing this already, man. I have no business with you. Who I need to meet with is Sheila Jack. If you hadn’t tried to play smart in your room, you wouldn’t be here now.”

“Sheila’s father is gonna ki*ll you if you hurt her.”

Rex raised his brows and chuckled. “How is he going to ki*ll me when he’ll never find me?”

“He’s gonna find you, I’m sure.”

“You gotta eat now before I change my mind,” Rex said to him with a blank face, this time it sounded like a threat. He turned and walked out of the room.

Immediately after hearing the door close, Adrian looked left and right to see if there was any way to get out. There was only one window in the large hall, a very small one on the wall behind him.

Only his legs remained tied to the chair which made it easy to untie himself. Even though the window was quite high, he would only need to place the footstool on the chair he was sitting on to climb.

He turned back to access the window properly and noticed there was something there. His heart skipped a beat and his eyes widened in fear. It looked like an explosive.

“Sh*t!” He cursed in his mind. Little wonder Rex left him confidently in the room.

_____

Callin, Anthanna

09:45 AM

Florence Brown was sitting in the backseat of the car alone, with two of her men in front. The man by the passenger’s side had his eyes fixed on a tablet device. The driver was following the direction shown on the automotive navigation screen of the car.

Florence was restless at the back. They had been following the direction of the tracker for close to two hours and were very close to the device at that point. But it all began to look wrong to her. She took out her phone to dial Hutton’s number.

“Yeah?” Hutton answered the call.

“Something looks off,” she gasped.

“It’s always been off,” Hutton replied. “You just didn’t notice. Did he trick you?”

“We haven’t confirmed yet, but I think he did. We’re out of El Deols already and he’s going farther away. I don’t think he’s gonna set up a meeting with Sheila that far.”

“I told you we can’t mess this up, Florence. We have to know Rex’s location before Sheila or Carl Winston. That’s the only way it works for us easily.”

“Give me some time to confirm if we’re still trailing him,” Florence replied and ended the call. She noticed the driver has reduced his speed. “Why did you slow down?”

“He’s no longer in motion,” the driver replied, pointing to the screen. “He’s stopped somewhere.”

“Let’s meet up with him,” Florence ordered and the driver turned to look at her as if to be sure of the instruction. “Yes, we have to be sure we’re following the right person.”

The driver increased the speed and they continue like that for ten minutes. He slowed down as they got so close to the tracking location.

“I think it’s that car parked over there,” the driver remarked.

They all had their eyes on a red car in front of a café. A man who had his hands covered with tattoos was seen walking towards the car with a pack of food.

“That’s not our man,” the man beside the driver voiced softly.

“It’s not,” Florence remarked. Her eyes were squinted at the red car in front.

They watched the man walk into the car and start the engine.

“Block him,” Florence replied.

The driver lurched forward and blocked the car before he could move. Florence stepped out quickly with her gun and walked to the car.

“Don’t,” she warned the driver who was trying to take out a weapon quickly. “Put your hands where I can see them.”

“What do you want?” the heavily tattooed man asked.

“You know what I want.”

The man looked up at her face. “I don’t know anything.”

“Step out,” Florence commanded, with the gun still pointed at the man’s face. He obeyed. “Where was the tracker placed in your body?”

“What tracker are you talking about?” He frowned. “Listen, ma’am. I’m just a transporter and I was asked to transport that to a location,” he explained, pointing to the small container at the passenger’s side. “Are you the police or what?”

Florence signaled to her partner who had also stepped out to check what was on the passenger’s side. He took it out and opened the container.

“The chip is here, they played us,” he confirmed Florence’s fears.

Florence’s body trembled, partially in anger and frustration.

“Who gave that to you?” she asked.

“His name is Waylen.”

______

El Deols, Anthanna

10: 00 AM

Adrian had finished eating by the time Rex walked back into the room. He was sitting gently.

“I see you decided to eat,” he remarked as he parked the plates.

“Thank you for the food, man,” Adrian gasped. Rex looked at his face and acknowledged him with a nod. “Please, I need to use the convenience. I haven’t used one since last night.”

“You wanna pee, right?”

Adrian shook his head.

Rex sighed. “I hope you can do it in the bush.”

“In the bush, what?” Adrian widened his eyes.

“Or you wait until evening.”

“Hell, no. Please, let me use the bush.”

“Untie yourself and follow me.”

.

“I know you’re running, but don’t try to play smart here,” Rex warned as he led Adrian into the bush. “You’ll have to run for fifteen minutes without stopping to find the nearest house or road here. If you try to run, I’ll catch and ki*ll you.”

“Noted,” Adrian let out a smile and dropped the bottle of water in his hand. He began to take off his trousers. “Are you going to stay here and watch me?”

Rex did not give a response.

“You’re comfortable with smelling my stinking poo?”

Without saying anything, Rex stepped further away from him but still within eyesight.

At that moment, the phone in Rex’s pocket began to ring. Adrian recognized his ringtone and looked toward Rex immediately. He knew Sheila was the caller.

“Hey, are you there?” Rex answered the call. He paused for a moment as it seemed he was finding it difficult to hear her. He checked the phone’s screen and noticed that there was nothing on the network bar. “I call you back in a minute,” he said into the phone before ending the call, not sure if she heard him.

He moved slowly towards Adrian who quickly tried to cover himself. Rex stopped.

“That was Sheila Jack. She’s here already and I’m going to get her. If you make any funny move, I’ll ki*ll her.”

Adrian nodded in acknowledgment with a sad look on his face. He watched as Rex began to walk further away in search of a spot with a better network connection.

A thought came to Adrian’s mind as he watched Rex moving away. What if Rex killed both of them when Sheila arrived? He began to think Rex’s movement was the best opportunity for him to run and get someone to call the police. He reached for the bottle of water to clean his bum and then got up to put on his trousers before dashing in the other direction.

Rex heard the noise and looked in the direction immediately.

“F**k!” He exclaimed and fired two shots from his bullet to scare Adrian but that didn’t work.

He put the phone in his pocket and followed after him.

_____

Bethanna Central Bank, 

Bethanna

Maxwell, Jennifer, and Maria kept their eyes on the screen as the men stepped out of the waste vehicle to open the van again.

They watched the soldier instruct the men to step into the van. The waste men seemed to argue for a moment before one of them climbed in.

“They’ve got only waste here, agent,” the soldier said into his communication device again. “They’re going to create a mess if they start bringing out everything.”

“Use the scanner to check for all metals,” Maxwell instructed.

“Come on, they’re going to be tons of metallic objects there,” the soldier complained again. He turned back and faced the camera for emphasis. “We might be here for two hours if we decide to go that away. I’m not sure these men will like us to delay them for that long. And I don’t think…”

.

The man could not complete his words as sounds of gunshots rent the air. The man who had entered the waste container van had turned back with a gun and began to spray at the already deceived soldiers. Three other armed men who were hidden inside the van stepped out.

The first two to get shot were the soldier’s colleagues who were watching the van. The soldier who was communicating with the surveillance room also turned to take a bullet in the chest.

After stepping out of the van, the assailants faced the surveillance camera and destroyed them with bullets. Then, they stepped back immediately to put on the Kevlar vests they came with.

.

“Damn it!” Maxwell punched the table in anger as the footage went off. The rest of the onlookers were too stunned to speak.

“Make sure you have your eyes on every other available area now,” Maria yelled at the other men in the surveillance team as she walked to the intercom.

The lights in the room and all the computers went off all of a sudden. Two seconds after, they came back on but all the surveillance cameras had been disconnected.

“What the heck is happening?” Maxwell turned to the leader of the department who rushed to the control area. After trying for a minute to reconnect, he turned to Maxwell with a horrific expression. “Looks like the network around the area has been jammed.”

To be continued