El Deols, Anthanna
Rex walked back into the room to meet Adrian still unconscious on the chair. He scoffed and stared at him for a moment, getting increasingly angry with every second. He eventually sighed and shook his head in a bid to dismiss his anger. He reached for the bottle of water by the side of the room and sprinkle some of the water on Adrian’s face, making him jerk up.
Adrian tried to move further but couldn’t due to his restriction on the chair. He opened his eyes slowly and gasped in shock as his vision got clear enough to see Rex’s face in front of him. Then, he remembered he was still in captivity.
“Oh, sh*t!” he cursed under his breath and shook his head slowly. He was feeling a banging headache, a result of hitting his head when he fell. “Why am I f**king here, can’t you just ki*ll me already?”
Rex squatted in his front. “Be patient man, death will come for you at the right time,” he said and slapped his cheek lightly before standing. “If Sheila gets here early enough, you won’t have to die in my hands.”
“I won’t let you lay your hands on Sheila,” Adrian fumbled, with a determined look on his face.
Rex turned back and laughed at him. “What are you going to do if I decide to do anything with Sheila?” He moved towards Adrian again and slapped him on the cheek.
Then he turned to his back and began to loosen the ropes. “We need to go out now, man. Sheila wants to speak with you to confirm that you’re alive.”
Adrian took in a deep breath. He wondered what Rex was planning to do with Sheila. Rex had given him no clue even after he asked several times. Nevertheless, Adrian knew from the conversation he overheard that it was something related to Carl Winston.
“My head hurts, can I get some painkillers please?” Adrian requested.
“After you speak with Sheila outside,” Rex replied.
“Can’t I speak with her here?”
Rex paused and looked at his face. “The network signal in this room is not strong enough.”
“Now, pick up your chair and head out,” Rex ordered, pointing a gun at him.
“What?” Adrian gasped. He couldn’t believe that Rex wanted him to carry the chair even after complaining he was feeling pain.
“Be fast about it man,” Rex insisted.
Adrian got up reluctantly and groaned as he felt a striking pain in his back. He fell back into the seat. “I’m feeling pains all over. Can’t you just help me with the chair?”
“You brought it on yourself when you tried to escape,” Rex replied without any iota of pity. “Now, get up, pick up the chair and move out. Don’t let me repeat myself.”
“I can’t…” Adrian was unable to complete his words as Adrian struck his face with a sharp blow. “Arggh…Damn it, oh no!” he yelled in pain, grabbing his lips with his palm.
“Still waiting for me to repeat myself?”
“F**k you, man!” Adrian cursed and dragged his feet on the ground as he lifted the chair. “You’re gonna pay heavily for this, man.”
“I think someone might be f**king us up, Henry!” Samantha exhaled.
Dave who was sitting on a concrete block by the corner gave her a sharp look. They were in the middle of two huge-storey buildings. The one on the left was a ten-story building and the one on the right was a twelve-storey.
“What do you mean?” Henry replied from the other end.
“It doesn’t make sense, man. We got all our plans ruined today and the Red Wolves also knew where we were. They followed our cars,” Samantha replied. “We can’t just assume that they only predicted our moves accurately.”
“What are you suggesting, Sam?” Henry asked again. He continued after waiting a few seconds to get Samantha’s response. “Why aren’t you back at the lodge yet, Sam? I had this discussion already with Paul.”
“And you think there’s nothing wrong somewhere?”
“The only thing that’s wrong somewhere is you not being at the lodge right now, Sam,” Henry replied.
“I can’t believe you think Hutton just outsmarted us like that.”
“Don’t be stupid, Sam! Hutton did not outsmart us in any way,” Henry scoffed. “It’s just like a card game that’s based on chance. Sometimes, it may not matter who is the smartest player. What determines the outcome of the game is who has better cards in hand. For today’s mission, we played well but Hutton had a better card. He knew about the President’s secrets and used that to win. Nobody in our team knew about what the president had in the box, so it has nothing to do with our team.”
Samantha let out a deep breath and paused for a few seconds to ponder on Henry’s words. “But he knew about our whereabouts.”
“Yes, he knew about our whereabouts the same way we decided what locations he would attack. He knew we would be thinking of stopping whatever would make the President be removed legally from the office. It would have been a struggle for him but his better card hand made it an easy win.”
“So, what are we going to do about it?”
“Go back to the lodge and meet with the others, Sam. I’ve got work to do here and I need to focus.”
“I’m sorry for disturbing you, Henry. I just have this strong feeling that something is not right. Ermmm, remember you said we should always check for holes that the enemies in our plans can work through.”
“The only hole in our plan was the President’s secrets which we did not know about,” Henry insisted. “And that has nothing to do with the team.”
“I’m sorry, you’re right,” Samantha gasped. “I was just scared that something might be wrong now that we have new people join the team.”
“New people?” Henry queried. “We’ve got no new persons in our team, except for the FOX men who we’ve known for a while. Maria, Mark, and Steve are trusted. If you think any of them could be messing things up, you need to tell me why or what you’ve seen.”
“Uhm…No, I don’t think any of them could mess things up,” Samantha replied in low tones.
“So, what are you…” Henry paused for a while after he seemed to remember something. “Are you in any way suggesting my wife could be in…”
“No, no,” Samantha’s lips trembled. “Not your wife,” she lied, even though Sarah was the main person she suspected. “I haven’t seen anything wrong with her.”
“I could ki*ll you for just thinking she’s my enemy,” Henry threatened. “She’s not a part of the team and has no idea of what we do. I don’t talk about any of it to her.”
“So, go back to the lodge now. If you suspect anything, let me know why. Don’t call me right now if you don’t have anything of substance.”
“I’m sorry, Henry,” Samantha gasped and quickly ended the call.
She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath.
Dave got up from his corner and walked towards her slowly, with his eyebrows furrowed at her face. He didn’t get a full grasp of the conversation but he had an idea from listening to Samantha’s words.
“Why do I think you’re the one messing us up?” Dave asked while staring into her eyes.
Samantha’s jaw dropped in surprise and she raised her head to look at his face. “What are you saying, Dave?”
“You’re acting suspicious and that’s enough to think you’re the one messing us up.”
“Why would I do that? I left everything behind and dedicated myself to this course. You surely don’t think I’ll mess it up now.”
“Yes, I think you can mess it all up,” Dave fired at her. “Maxwell’s claims are beginning to make sense right now.”
“What? Maxwell’s claims?” Samantha was confused.
“Yes, his claims make sense and are the perfect reason you might be messing things up for us. You’ve got something for Henry but now that his wife is back, you feel jealous and you’re trying to destroy everything because of that.”
Samantha gasped and stared at Dave in disbelief. “How can you say that, Dave? I will never do anything to…”
“Just shut up,” Dave fired at her. “Then, why have you been acting like a p*ssy for no reason?”
Samantha couldn’t put words together to reply to him. Tears had formed in her eyes but she managed to keep them from rolling down.
Suddenly, Dave grabbed her by the neck and pushed her to the wall. “Tell me the truth, Sam. What the f*** are you doing?”
Samantha groaned in horror. “No..thing, Dave…I’m not doing any…thing,” she struggled to reply.
She tried to kick him in the groin but Dave anticipated it and blocked it with his knee. She also tried to punch him but he stopped that too.
“If you’re not doing anything, then stop behaving like an as***ole and let’s get out of here,” he finally released her and began to walk away.
He stopped after taking a few steps and realizing she wasn’t coming with him.
“Can you please give me some minutes,” Samantha pleaded as their eyes met. She dropped slowly on her butt and ran her fingers into her hair with her elbows placed on her raised knees.
Dave walked back slowly, keeping his eyes on her. He was beginning to get really suspicious of her now.
Samantha closed her eyes and took in slow deep breaths. She realized she had just made a fool of herself. There was no basis for her suspicions, except for her intuition which could be absolutely wrong. She couldn’t blame Dave for suspecting her also. She would have felt the same about herself if she was in Dave’s shoes.
“Do I need to report you to the others?” Dave asked with a brow raised at her. Her head was bowed and he couldn’t see her face, neither could he predict what she would do next.
She looked up and noticed that Dave had his hands close to his holster where his pistol was. She spread her hands out wide and raised them slowly.
“I’m not hiding anything here, Dave,” she said and stretched forth her hand for Dave to pull her up. “Maybe you’re right. None of my assertions are correct. I might just be having a terrible mood swing.”
Dave finally pulled her off and scrutinized her body with his eyes before taking his hand off the holster. He gestured for her to proceed in front of him and she did.
“We’ll order a ride once we walk out of this place.”
At the Lodge
Sarah was arranging some clothes in the wardrobe when she turned and noticed that Kellar playing with the spoon in his hand instead of eating the food. She dropped the cloth in her hand and turned to him.
“Why aren’t you eating your food?” She squatted right in his front where he was sitting on the floor. She lifted his chin with two fingers placed beneath his jaw.
“I’m not feeling hungry, mum,” the boy replied and attempted to get up but she kept him sitting.
“You’re not hungry or you don’t like the food?” Sarah questioned. “Do you want something else?”
Kellar shook his head and folded his arms across his chest.
“You have to eat your food, Kellar,” Sarah said, in an authoritative tone this time.
“Is he coming back to us again?” Kellar asked.
Sarah raised her brows. “Your father?”
She chuckled. “Why do you ask? He would come back as soon as he can.”
“Why did he go alone? He could have taken us along with him?”
Sarah sat down beside her son. “Listen, son. Your Dad is a soldier and he’s gone to face some really bad people. He can’t take us there with him.”
“Are you sure those people are going to let Daddy come back?”
“You always have to hope for the best, Kellar,” Sarah caressed his hair. “You need to eat now, son. If Dad comes back now, he won’t be happy that you aren’t eating.”
Kellar picked up his spoon and began to eat again. She turned and was walking back to the wardrobe when he spoke again.
“Can we talk to Dad on phone and find out how he’s doing?” Kellar paused to ask.
His mother turned back and stared at his face. “He might be too busy for that, Kellar. And we don’t even have a phone here but I’ll try. Now, finish your food before it gets cold.”
“Who was that?” Sheila asked Henry after he ended the call.
“Samantha,” he replied briefly and then proceeded back to the car.
She followed him. “Are we going in with the car?”
“No, we got to park it somewhere,” Henry replied as he opened the door. “Get in.”
25 minutes later
“Are you sure we’re not going to need that map?” Sheila asked for the umpteenth time.
“I believe we’re on the right track,” Henry replied and turned to wait for her. She had stopped to wipe off stains from her trouser.
“He’s gonna suspect if I show up too early or too late,” Sheila said as she walked up to him. They continued walking together.
“You’re just going to tell him you were already in the village when you got his call,” Henry replied.
They continued in silence for about five minutes more when Henry noticed a tall building somewhere in front.
“Looks like we’ve just found the place,” he pointed it to Sheila.
“Are you sure that’s it?”
“Yes, it’s just a perfect place for Rex to operate in.”
Henry began to slow down his steps as he approached the place. He stopped behind the bush at a spot where he had a better view of the building.
“You’re gonna proceed alone now, and do as we discussed,” he said to Sheila, squatting and adjusting the leaves in front of him at the same time.
“You sure he’s not going to hurt me or Adrian before you come in?” She bent down beside him.
“No,” Henry scoffed and stared at her face, wondering why she was doubting him, even after he had assured her earlier of her safety. “He’s not going to hurt you and Adrian until he confirms you don’t have company.”
Sheila took in a deep breath and then got up to proceed. Henry watched her until she got to the front of the building. She took out her phone to dial his number.
At the same time, the phone in his pocket began to vibrate. He took it out quickly, wondering who it was. A sigh escaped his lips as he saw the number on the screen. He wondered why Paul was calling him when he knew he would be busy.
“Hey, Paul,” he answered impatiently while keeping an eye on Sheila.
“No, it’s not Paul, it’s me…” the response came from the other end.
“Hey, babe,” Henry’s heart melted on hearing his wife’s voice.
“I’m really sorry to disturb you but your son has been disturbing me, he wanted to speak with you,” she replied.
“Okay, let me talk to him.”
The boy’s voice came up a few seconds later. “Dad.”
“My little Champ, how are you doing?”
“Fine, Dad. How soon are you getting back?”
“Very soon, little man. I hope you’re taking care of your mother.”
“Please, come home Dad,” the boy repeated.
“Yes, I will. I promise,” Henry replied with a smile. He could now see Sheila walking into the building. “Give the phone to your mother, Kellar.”
“Honey, nobody is telling me what’s happening. Are we safe? And are you safe?” Sarah asked.
“Yes, I’m okay, Sarah. I’m very close to Rex now. I promise you, I’m gonna ki*ll him this time.”
“Please be careful,” Sarah pleaded.
“I love you.”
“I love you too,” Henry replied before ending the call.
He tucked the phone back into his pocket and took a few steps further while still trying to hide in the bush. From his new position, he was able to get a clear view of the front window of the building. Unfortunately, he couldn’t see anything or get an idea of what was in the building from the closed window. He needed to get close to the building without being spotted from the window.
“Put your hands up and approach slowly,” Rex asked, with his gun kissing Adrian’s head.
Sheila obeyed and put her hands up, her eyes observing the open space carefully.
It was a large hall with several large windows, all of which were covered with a dusty translucent thin sheet. Some of the sheets had holes in them. There was a wooden staircase at one corner of the hall which led to the roof of the building. There were other rooms in the large building too. Sheila could see at least four other doors.
“Stop right there,” Rex asked as he stepped away from Adrian. He stared at her for a moment and then proceeded to the windows to peep carefully, one after the other. “Put your hands up properly,” he said as he approached her after checking the windows.
“There’s nothing on me, except for my phone,” Sheila spoke as he began to search her body.
He took out her phone from her pocket and her car key. “How did you get here so early?”
“I didn’t get here early,” Sheila replied. “I left the gas station long before you called, trying to search for you. I was in a village, asking people about you when you called.”
“So, how did you know where to find me?”
“You sent me the location, didn’t you?” She squinted at him.
Rex handed her phone back to her. “Show me the map you followed here.”
Sheila gasped. “Why are you asking me questions? Why not take that tape away from Adrian’s mouth and let me talk to me,” Sheila tried to change the topic.
“Show me the map,” Rex insisted, in a more commanding tone this time.
Sheila took the phone from his hand. “The network is poor here, I can’t use the map.”
“I asked you to take screenshots of the directions,” Rex’s face turned into a thick frown. “Show me the screenshots that led you here.”
Sheila held her breath in fear. She thought of telling him she memorized the directions but knew he could ask her to describe them.
“Who came here with you?” The look on Rex’s face had now turned scary.
Sheila’s heart was beating so fast now as she stared at his face. She began to take slow steps backwards, wondering whether to run out or hope Henry will come in at that time.
At that particular moment, Henry kicked open the door and stepped in. Rex reacted swiftly and grabbed Sheila before she could make any additional movement. He wrapped a hand around her neck and put the mouth of the gun by the side of her head with the other hand.
“What the f**k!” Rex cursed as he saw that it was Henry. “I told you not to reach him,” he whispered into her ears but she could not reply as he was almost strangling her with his arm. He released his grip on her neck slightly after noticing she was struggling.
“Let them go, Rex. I’m here, you can have me and do whatever you want with me,”
“Who are you here with?” Rex asked, after taking a glance at the window side.
“It’s just the two of us here,” Henry replied. “I’m going to drop my gun now but you have to let both of them go. The two of us can stay here to sort out whatever difference we have.”
Rex glanced towards the window side again, thinking he heard something strange. He continued to take slow steps backwards.
“Who are those with you guys?” Rex asked again.
Henry squinted and then glanced towards the window, wondering why Rex was repeating the question.
“I’ve answered you already, I’m the only one here with her,” Henry answered again.
Rex took another look towards the window, this time for a longer period. He squinted as he spotted something strange outside through one of the holes.
“Go down now!” He yelled as he dragged Sheila to the floor with him. At that same time, bullets rained into the building through the windows. “F**k!” Rex cursed and looked at Henry from where he was on the floor. He still held on to Sheila’s shirt at the back. Henry was also on the ground now. “Who the heck did you come with?”
Henry had yet to answer when gas grenades were launched into the place.
To be continued