Rex returned a minute later with two men following behind him. One of them had a backpack strapped on. Henry let out a chuckle as he recognized Tanko.
“I believe the two of you have met before, so there’ll be no need for introduction,” Rex said as he got to Henry’s front. He stood beside Henry, turning towards the two men coming behind.
“What?” Tanko raised his brows after recognizing Henry. “You didn’t tell me this was your friend.”
“I didn’t need to tell you, did I?” Rex smirked.
“Hello man,” Henry smiled mischievously and stretched a hand to Tanko.
Tanko ignored the hand and turned to Rex. “I ain’t gon work with this man.”
“We gotta do what we have to do, Tanko,” Rex replied and turned to look at Sheila who was standing at some distance away.
“You don’t get it, man,” Tanko fumed. “This dude broke the bones of some of my best men. They haven’t recovered since then.”
“And that’s why you need to take my handshake now before I break your bones too,” Henry scoffed.
Tanko turned to him and noticed his hand was still stretched. He glanced at Rex
Rex shrugged, signifying that there was nothing he was going to do to stop Henry.
Tanko looked at Henry again. This time, there seemed to be fear in his eyes. He eventually stretched out his hand to take the handshake.
“This doesn’t mean I’m gonna stay here and work with you,” Tanko scoffed and tried to pull his hand away but Henry held on to it firmly.
“We gotta do what we have to do, Tanko,” Henry repeated Rex’s words. “I had to beat you and your men up then to get what I wanted, and I don’t regret it. If we have to work together now, we gotta do so.”
Rex chuckled mischievously. “I think that’s enough of catching up, guys. Now, let’s get started.”
“What are we doing here?” Henry released Tanko’s hand and turned to Rex.
“We have to return to Bexford, don’t we?” Rex asked, raising both brows. His eyes turned to the second man beside Tanko who had taken down his backpack and was taking out some items in it. “Hutton Ryker’s men will be out looking for us everywhere right now. So I ordered these clothes to help us disguise easily and get out of here.”
The guy with the backpack took out three packs of clothes, sealed in a transparent cover. He checked the labels on the packs and handed the first one to Henry. He took out the second one and handed it to Rex.
“This is for the lady,” he said, holding up the last pack and looking towards Sheila who began to walk towards them.
Henry took the pack from the man before Sheila got to them. “I’m not sure she’s gonna be needing this. She’s not returning to Bexford with us.”
Except for Henry who was looking at Sheila’s face, all other persons turned their eyes to Rex, expecting him to make an explanation.
“She’s gonna have to come with us, Carl. We need her,” Rex said to Henry.
“She’s going nowhere with us,” Henry slammed at him. “She’s got nothing to do with us and has to go back to her family.”
“We settled this together already,” Rex insisted. “She’s gonna come.”
“I’m coming with you, Henry. I chose to go to Bexford with you,” Sheila snapped and snatched the pack from Henry. She turned and began to walk towards where she was previously sitting.
Henry stared at her in awe. “You’re joking, right?”
“No, I’m not,” Sheila stopped and turned after remembering something. She directed her gaze to Rex. “Are we putting this on now?”
“Yeah, we should leave here very soon. So you can put it on right away,” Rex answered.
Henry glared at Rex.
“Man, you gotta let this be. I talked it over with her already,” Rex held Henry by the shoulder. “Let’s forget that and move to…”
Henry shook off Rex’s hand from his shoulder. “You convinced her to come with us? That doesn’t make sense,” he interrupted Rex’s speech and handed the pack of clothes to the guy with the backpack. “I’m gonna talk with her first, alone.”
Henry walked up to Sheila who was already trying to get out the clothing item from the pack.
“We need to talk about this, Sheila,” he said in low tones, sitting on the table in front of her.
She looked up at his face. “I’m listening.”
“It’s too dangerous for you to be with us here, let alone, going to Bexford with us. You need to return home and let Mr Emery protect you.”
“You need me with you, Henry. That’s why I’m coming,” Sheila answered stubbornly.
“You don’t get it, do you?” Henry gasped. “I don’t even know what we’re going back to do in Bexford yet. I don’t have a f**king plan. So, all I need you to do right now is let me drop you home and you stay safe.”
“I know what we’re going to do, Henry. We’re going to take down the Red Wolves once and for all. And even if you don’t have a plan, you will have to come up with one, you always do.”
Henry sighed in frustration. He lost his cool and raised his voice. “How the f**k do I have to say this to you, Sheila? You can’t be safe with me, no matter what plans I have. I just lost almost all my team members, my wife, and my son. You might get killed for nothing if you come with me.”
“I’m sorry about the explosion, Henry, but maybe you didn’t lose your wife and son,” Sheila replied.
Henry squinted hard at her. He pulled back for a second, trying to ponder on what she said. “What the hell are you talking about?”
Sheila had yet to answer when Rex got to them. Henry’s raised voice had attracted his attention. He placed a hand on Henry’s shoulder and looked into his face. “We need to move fast, man. The Red Wolves are going to be looking everywhere for us.”
“No,” Henry again shrugged off the hand on his shoulder. “I need to understand what she said,” Henry replied stubbornly and stared at Sheila. “What are you saying, Sheila?”
Sheila stared at Rex’s face. He seemed to be making a sign to her.
“We are not sure that they’re dead yet, Henry. You need to be optimistic,” Sheila finally replied. “There’s a possibility that they survived, not just your family but your men too.”
“Damn it! There’s no way anyone’s gonna remain intact with an explosion with an effect like that. It’s foolery to stay hopeful that anyone that was inside the building when the bomb went off will be alive,” Henry scoffed.
“Can we focus on how to get back now?” Rex put in impatiently.
Henry stared at Sheila’s face again. “You should stay here, Sheila.”
“I’m sorry, you need me with you,” Sheila was adamant.
Henry got up angrily and walked back toward the other men. Rex followed after him.
“Hutton Ryker has gotten more powerful than he was before, Carl. If we want to stand a better chance of pulling him down, then we need all trusted hands on deck.”
Henry stopped and turned to Rex who was behind him. “You’re talking trash man. You just said Hutton Ryker has gotten more powerful than he ever was and that means he’s going to be more dangerous. Sheila has got no military training whatsoever. We’re only endangering her life by taking her with us.”
“She’s never going to get on the field with us, Carl. We only need her to be the trusted eyes watching over us,” Rex explained.
“That doesn’t reduce the danger, man. Those who got killed this evening were not on the field, they were at the hideout,” Henry argued.
“This time, it’s going to be different. Just you and I will know where she’s operating from. She’s gonna be safe as long as we don’t give out her location.”
Henry stared into his friend’s eyes for a moment.
Rex noticed his suspicion. “You still think I’m with the enemy?” he raised a brow.
“You’ve yet to tell me why you went after my wife and child.”
“Gentlemen, the time is ticking,” Tanko voiced aggressively. “I thought we needed to make fast movements.”
“You have a lot of questions to ask and it’s going to take me a lot of time to explain the answers,” Rex replied. “We should talk about it after we get back to Bexford safely,” he added and then turned to Tanko immediately. “How many more men are with you?”
“Just two more are outside,” Tanko replied. “The other group is also ready.”
“Yeah, two with us is enough. Do they have the costume to disguise too?”
“Yes, we’ve got costumes for everyone. We’re going to change into them as soon as you ask us to,” Tanko replied.
“You guys should be on it right away,” Rex replied. “Once we move from here, the other group will swing into action too.”
Tanko nodded in response and glanced at Henry before turning to leave. The man beside Tanko handed Rex a box before turning with Tanko.
“What exactly is your plan to get us back to Bethanna?” Henry asked after taking out the clothes. It was a bisht and a turban.
“Mazalat tatakalam alearabiah alyas kadhalik,” Rex asked in Arabic.
“Naeam,” Henry replied. “Yumkinuni.”
“Good, I figured that Hutton could use his powers as the FOX chairman and try to launch a deeper search for us. Disguising as Arab billionaires will just be perfect for us.”
“Who are the Tanko’s other men that you talked about?” Henry questioned.
“I booked two planes,” Rex replied. “We’re going in one, but the second will be moving before us. I figured that the Red Wolves could be looking into flight activity. They’re going to be keeping an eye on the first private flight that leaves. So, the first flight is going to distract them,” Rex paused and step closer to Henry. “Tanko does not know why I want the other group to travel separately,” he whispered.
“Rex,” Henry took in a deep breath after pondering on the plan for a few seconds. “Hutton Ryker is going to be looking into the flights before they move and after. What if they discover the men before they move?”
“They’re not men,” Rex replied. “I arranged for the movement to be as secret as possible. The plane is not going to be prepared until it’s almost time to move.”
“The Red Wolves could be there watching already,” Henry insisted.
Rex heaved a sigh of frustration. “What do you suggest?”
“Maybe we need more tricks for the distraction to work well,” Henry replied. “That way, if the Red Wolves discover them before the flight moves, we’ll still have enough time to go before they discover we’re not with them.”
“What distractions do you think we should add?”
“Maybe get some more men to engage the Red Wolves in a gunfight. And we may also need trackers to know where they are at every time,” Henry shrugged.
“We have trackers with them and we have them with us here too,” Rex replied, raising the box he was given by Tanko’s man.
Henry was silent for a while. “What if we separate and yield?” he suggested with a thin gaze.
“Separate and yield?” Rex widened his eyes. “I ain’t doing that man.”
“It could work this time. It could be dangerous but it looks like the best considering that the Red Wolves will be all over the place.”
“Carl, I had very little time to plan this. So, maybe I couldn’t plan it to perfection. But we have little time for the execution, we can’t add any of those things you’re suggesting now. Besides, you were just talking about keeping Sheila safe and now you’re suggesting ‘separate and yield’,” Rex gasped and shook his head in unbelief. “I think we should change and leave right away.”
Henry heaved a sigh of resignation.
Rex turned and walked to Sheila. “Tanko locked the door before he left and no one can come in except I open it again, so you can change your clothes here. I’m going to head into a different room with Carl now. We’ll be back in ten minutes.”
With that, Rex headed towards another room. “Come with me, Carl.”
Carl stood and watched him walk away, drifting into thoughts slowly. Memories of Rex holding the gun at his wife and son in the airplane flashed in his mind. After that, scenes of the dead Simon Perry and Doctor Alan flashed through his mind too.
“Are you going to keep standing there?” Rex stopped at the door of a room and shouted back at Henry.
Henry raised his head and stared at him for a second. Then he proceeded in Rex’s direction, with a different thought in his mind.
El Deols, Anthanna
“We need to leave now, Mr Emery,” the inspector said for the umpteenth time.
Emery sat down in the chopper without moving. His face looked pale and his eyes were staring blankly.
They had returned to the city after hours of looking for Sheila and her abductors around the villages without finding her. Emery was worried and had lost hope that he was ever going to find her again.
“Sir…” the Inspector placed a hand on Emery’s shoulder.
For the first time after a long time of staying still, he raised his head and looked straight into the Inspector’s eyes.
“My daughter may never come back again,” he blurted out.
“We can’t give up on her, Mr Emery,” the inspector urged. “We’ll keep looking. You just have to stay hopeful as you’ve always been. You just need to help us with whatever you know about the abductors and we’ll do everything we can to bring her back home safely.”
Another officer joined them there at that moment. He shook his colleague by the shoulder and then stood beside him.
Emery took out his phone from his jacket’s inner pocket. He scrolled through it for a minute and then handed it over to the Inspector. “I told you about this before. That’s Carl Winston. He’s a FOX agent… Or maybe an ex-FOX agent. He’s been leading a war against the Red Wolves with a private team. As long as Sheila is with him, she’s exposed to attacks from the Red Wolves. She almost got killed the last time she was kidnapped.”
The officer beside the case Inspector moved closer to have a look at the screen. He squinted his eyes on the screen for a while and then made a signal to his colleague.
“Give us a minute, Mr Emery,” the Inspector said and handed the phone back to the man.
“We need to look at the picture,” the other officer said.
“Oh!” The inspector turned back to Emery. “May we go with the phone.”
“Sure,” Emery took out the phone from his brea$t pocket quickly. He seemed to struggle to unlock it before handing it back to the officer. “There you go.”
“Thank you,” the Inspector took the phone and both stepped some distance away.
“Have you received the memo from the FOX joint operations force?” the other officer asked as he took out his phone.
“I didn’t get any memo, I’ve been on the task since,” the Inspector replied.
The officer opened a photo on his phone showing Henry. He swiped twice, showing Sheila and Rex’s pictures. “The memo is to find these three people. The FOX believes they work with the Red Wolves and they’re trying to get out of the country tonight.”
“I don’t understand,” the Inspector frowned. “That’s Sheila Jack. How’s she a part of the Red Wolves?”
“I don’t understand too,” the officer replied. “But the information is that she kidnapped herself and has been working secretly with these men who are members of the Red Wolves.”
The Inspector sighed in confusion. They both glanced back and saw that Emery had finally stepped out.
“With what Mr Emery says, he could have an idea that his daughter is connected to the Red Wolves,” the officer continued. “Maybe we can use him to help us find where they are.”
“He thinks this man is fighting the Red Wolves, not working with them.”
The other officer glanced back at Emery again. “What do you think he’s gonna say? Admit that his daughter is connected with some terrorists? I bet he knows the truth and he’s just trying to get his daughter out in some way.”
The Inspector was more confused.
“The search for this trio is secret,” the officer continued. “Their pictures have not been released to the public so as not to let them know we’re searching for them. If the both of us can get Emery to help us find them, there’s gonna be some good reward.”
The Inspector was still yet to accept what his colleague was saying. Emery got close to them at that moment and they could not continue to talk.
“Officers, my daughter is in grave danger with those men,” Emery complained. “You need to help me find her.”
“That’s what we’re talking about, Mr Emery,” the other officer turned to the man. “But you need to help us with everything you have about this man you say is fighting against the Red Wolves. Maybe if you give us more information, we will know where to look.”
Emery Jack looked at the other officer’s face as if to ask if they were in agreement.
The Inspector nodded. “We need more information about this man,” he said, handing Emery’s phone back to him. The screen was already locked due to inactivity.
“And we need everything we can get fast,” the other officer put in. “If he’s who you think he is, then there’s a possibility that he’s moving fast. We need to move faster.”
Emery took in a deep breath. “Can I get a cup of water?”
The officers exchanged glances.
“Of course, yes. Let’s go in,” the Inspector offered, stretching his hand forward for Emery to lead the way.
Emery’s phone rang at that moment and he paused. “I need to get this,” he said to the officers.
“Yes, you can go ahead. We will be waiting inside for you,” the Inspector said and then proceeded with his colleague.
Emery looked at the phone’s screen again. It was from one of his bodyguards. He wasn’t interested in listening to what the bodyguard had to say as he was sure he only wanted to ask about his wellbeing.
He let the call end and then opened the phone menu. For a second, he paused and stared at the officers as they walked into the police office in front. Then he opened a hidden voice recorder on his phone and stopped the recording. He played it back and placed it close to his ear to listen.
“Four people have been confirmed dead now,” Samantha reported to Dave as she walked back into the hall with her phone radio.
“Can you just switch that off?” Dave gasped and rubbed his hair with his fingers quickly. “What did you get?”
“An energy drink,” Samantha replied and handed a bottle to Dave. “Maybe you could get something to eat later if you’ve got the appetite,” she added before sitting beside him on the bench.
“Thank you,” he replied and both of them looked forward to where Maria was tied.
She was at the centre of the room. Both hands were suspended in the air and tied at the wrists. Only her legs could move freely.
Dave gulped down some part of the drink before getting up. He took off the tape from her mouth and stepped back.
“Are you ready to talk now, Maria?”
“I told you everything already,” Maria gasped. “You two are making a big mistake. I would not betray the team.”
Dave moved closer to her again and stared straight into her eyes. “That day I broke into your house, I didn’t want to torture you . I don’t want to torture you now, either. Will you just say the truth and die an easy death.”
Maria shook her head in disbelief. “I’ve been on your side since that day, Dave. The Wolves don’t have anything on me.”
Dave chuckled. “You were once on the Red Wolves’ side. Maybe Hutton Ryker met you after you switched, and you switched again.”
“Come on, you know me, Dave. I only worked with Agent Michael because he compelled me to. He threatened me. I’ve never been interested in destroying lives with them.”
Samantha got up and walked to Maria. “Then, how the f*** were you the only one who stepped out?”
“I said that several times. I stepped out to get something to munch.”
“And you stepped out alone?” Dave put in.
Maria stayed silent.
“So, where were you running to with your family when we came?”
“I was running from the Red Wolves, not you or Henry like you allerge.”
“Don’t f**king tell me that, Maria. The Red Wolves did not know your parents.”
“The Red Wolves did not know my parent but the FOX knows,” Maria yelled in frustration. “And Hutton Ryker is now in charge of the FOX. If he finds out I am alive, he could come for my parents. That’s why I had to get them.”
“Ah, sh*t!” Dave sighed and taped her mouth again. “You’re making this hard, Maria.”
He stepped back and picked up the bottle of drink.
“I’m going to step out for some fresh air,” Dave said to Samantha and then handed her a gun. “She’s not gonna talk. You know what to do.”
El Deols, Anthanna
Henry was about to step into the same room Rex entered when his phone began to ring. He paused and took it out. It was Samantha’s number again.
“Henry, we’ve got Maria but she’s not gonna talk,” Dave reported from the other end.
“Maybe you can find something on her that will lead us to them,” Henry suggested.
“There’s nothing on her,” Dave replied. “We’ve quizzed her and she’s not saying anything. She claims she stepped out to buy something when it happened.”
“It couldn’t have been a coincidence,” Henry replied already before another thought struck his mind. “Ermm… Where did you find Maria?”
“She was at her parent’s house, trying to run away with them,” Dave replied.
Henry stayed quiet for a while. “If it was preplanned, she would have gotten them away earlier.”
“Well, maybe she didn’t think anyone of us will survive.”
“Dave, do you think she did it?”
There was silence from Dave’s end for a few seconds. “To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t know what to think right now. Every f**king person is a suspect.”
Henry was about to say something else when he heard a loud sound. “Is that a gunshot?”
“Yeah, Samantha must have put a bullet into Maria’s head,” Dave replied.
“What?” Henry gasped. He shut his eyes and took in a deep breath. “I’ll call you back in a minute, Dave.”
He ended the call and proceeded into the room where Rex was. He met Rex already taking off his clothes.
Rex paused on seeing Henry staring at him.
“Is Sarah a part of the Red Wolves?” Henry asked.
To be continued
PS: I skipped writing about the part where Sheila and Henry talked about Adrian. That’s in error, but most of you have read it already. So let’s assume that part just happened, even though I may fix it later