March 31, 2016
El Deols, Anthanna.
It was a short night for Sheila but she woke up the next morning feeling quite different. Somehow, she managed to lay off thoughts from her mind and slowly replaced him with Adrian.
Adrian was not a perfect man. No man was! He had done so many things which she didn’t like, but they all happened a long time ago in High School when they were not mature enough. The Adrian now seemed calmer and caring, different from the picture she always had of him. He also seemed to be patient with her as he always came back despite her unpleasant way of treating him sometimes and it made her wonder why Henry who had been pushing her away since he regained his memory still had any space in her heart.
She stepped out of the bathroom with the towel wrapped round her chest and mopped her feet on the foot mat at the entrance. She wiped her body dry and then proceeded straight to her make up table. She stared at her image in the mirror and smiled. She needed no one to tell her she was beautiful and had a perfect shape. She was confident about this but had never let it get into her head.
She took off the shower cap from her head and let her hair flow down as she dropped the towel. She picked her body cream from the table and began to apply gently on her skin.
After about ten minutes, she was already dressed in her underwear and had her work dress lying on the bed behind her already. She stared again at her makeup kits on the table and somehow felt the need to apply more makeup than she usually did that morning, she had always preferred to go light or just with a simple lip gloss most times.
Why would she need to apply more makeup? She suddenly asked herself. She was not attending any occasion or having any special meeting but the urge to go on makeups was still strong. She sat in the chair and let out a deep breath as she realized that deep in her subconscious mind, she was expecting another outing with Adrian.
A thought suddenly came to her mind and she looked up at the wall clock, it was past seven. She turned back to look at her phone in the bed, she had not gotten any message alert or phone call from Adrian that morning. It felt kind of strange because she was already getting used to his funny wake up messages everyday, even though she never replied any.
She went to pick her phone just to confirm. There was indeed no message or missed call from him. She squinted at her image in the mirror for a second and wondered what was wrong. Could it be that she had hurt him so much the previous day that he decided to stop the calls and messages? He did not even call her the last night after dropping her off.
She scrolled to his number in her call register and dialled. She placed it close to her ear and waited patiently for him to answer.
“Hello… Good morning Sheila,” she heard him say in a sleepy gruff voice.
“Good morning Adrian, hope you slept well.”
“Yes, I did. What about you dear?” Adrian replied. Sheila could hear a yawn following his words.
“I did too,” she replied. There was an awkward silence for about five seconds. “I just wanted to say good morning and also make sure that you are not angry about yesterday. ”
“Oh! Thanks so much, I wasn’t angry like I told you before, I knew that guy was just a mischief maker.”
“Okay dear, thanks so much. Do have a nice day,” Sheila concluded and then ended the call after hearing his response.
She heaved a sigh as she placed the phone on the table before her but she wasn’t still feeling satisfied. She felt like calling him again. Maybe speaking to him once again that morning and talking to him so often would help her get Henry off her mind completely but how could she do that when she was the one who had previously warned Adrian of the calls becoming too much?
She was still in thoughts when Adrian called back. She felt some tension as she picked the phone to answer.
“Hey Sheila! Just thought about it, it’s unusual to have you call me so early this morning.” Adrian’s voice rang in cheerfully. “I’ve got to thank you for calling to check up on me.”
“Well,” Sheila chuckled. “It’s okay.”
“Do have a nice day Sheila,” Adrian concluded.
“Yeah Adrian, take care.”
Her eyes caught the time on the phone’s screen before she dropped it on the table again. She realized she would end up going late for work if she continued wasting time on her thoughts.
“I dropped the sample cases with the scientist for them to confirm what they are made of,” Daniel said as he walked towards the investigation table from the entrance door.
Steve turned to look at him. He was with Sandra and Evelyn at the table and there was a laptop in front of them which they were all looking into.
Daniel stopped beside Sandra who was at Steve’s right hand side. He joined them to stare at what they were checking and he saw a moving bar at the top of the screen with several inaccessible pictures and comments underneath. They were checking through the directory of FOX officials.
“None greater than twenty percent match yet?” Daniel whistled, seeing that the search was already ninety percent completed. More search results were being added to the screen as the percentage increased and after three extra minutes, it got to a hundred percent.
Daniel shone his eyes at the screen, surprised at what he saw unlike the rest of them who were already not expecting so much.
“Over three thousand FOX officials present in the directory, it’s been two hours search and we got only fifteen search results for twenty percent match with the picture. They had tried to get matches for more than twenty percent and only one person had showed up at twenty five percent.
“Fifteen search results is not a bad result,” Sandra said to him. “The only bad thing here is that they match by twenty percent only.”
“This twenty percent and below may just be what has been concealing what we’ve been searching for,” He said aloud. He looked specifically at Sandra. “Please help fetch and print the details for these twenty people, let’s see if we can make out anything.”
Evelyn turned to Steve as Sandra lifted the laptop from the table and walked away with it. “When are we accessing the executives directory? To me, it is necessary to keep working on search results with twenty percent matches and below.”
“The Chairman said he would call for me anytime from now,” Steve replied and picked up his handset and key from the table. “But we still have to work without leaving any stone unturned, we’ll work with these twenty percent matches also.”
He proceeded to the table at the back wall corner of the room and picked a device there, he turned briefly to Evelyn and Daniel who were still at the table. “I think I have an idea of what we can do with the man in our custody, Stanley.”
Evelyn turned and looked at him. Daniel also turned and looked but turned back slowly to the the table again. He reached for a neatly arranged set of files placed at the left edge of the table and began to open. “I pulled out some information about him yesterday, I have them detailed here.”
Steve began to step towards them again but stopped shortly as if he changed his mind. “It’s getting so ambiguous doing this as paper work, let’s get into our computer room,” he said nodding towards the left. The computer room for their team was next to the investigation by the left.
He turned and led the way while Daniel and Evelyn followed him shortly.
Paul Edward’s Office.
“Your idea sounds interesting, but it is also dangerous. Have you considered it well at all?” Paul Edwards asked after listening to what Steve, Evelyn and Daniel had to say.
“Yes sir, it seems like the only way we can move faster in this case. We will be careful to make sure it doesn’t get out of hands,” Steve replied.
“Who’s carrying out the job?”
“I would personally monitor every process but a lady would be directly following,” Steve answered.
Paul Edwards moved his gaze to Evelyn’s face, already assuming she was the lady Steve was going to handle it directly to.
“Not Agent Evelyn sir,” Steve corrected. “Someone new would be preferred.”
Paul squinted at him. “You have just two ladies in your ten-man team, Evelyn and Lydia and I do think Evelyn is better for the job.”
“We need a new person sir,” Steve insisted. “Someone not in our team.”
Paul raised his brows. “Why?”
“I explained earlier that the details of our team could have been given to the enemy by an inside man, using anybody who is a member of the team would cause some problems for us if my suspicions are right.”
“Hmmm,” Paul placed his jaw on his palm. “Well, who do you have in mind?”
“Agent Lydia,” Steve stated. “I’ve worked with her on several occasions and I’m hundred percent sure of her ability to deliver, and I’ll also be closely following her.”
Paul nodded and rested his back. “I’ll check through the current case records and make an exemption to pull her out of whichever case she is involved in presently.”
He pulled out the drawer and picked out a flash drive. He closed the drawer and placed the flash drive on the table.
His eyes met with Steve and he communicated for him to step closer and pick the drive.
“That contains all you need to access the details of the FOX executives living anywhere in the world,” Paul said as he watched Steve pick it. “You have lesser excuses for not delivering.”
Steve nodded in agreement after stepping back to his previous position.
“This time around, only the four of us and of course Lydia would be aware of this strategy. So, I would hold you Steve, responsible for any failure.” Paul warned in a strict tone. His eyes locked with Steve for a moment and he saw the confidence in the young Agent’s eyes before the younger man looked away out of respect. “Though I understand you need to take this dangerous and risky step, someone would always be held accountable and responsible for the results and that’s you – the team leader.”
Steve nodded gently in understanding. “Thank you sir for your trust and acceptance,” he bowed slightly. “I would be very careful.”
He was still talking when the landline on Paul Edward’s desk began to ring.
Paul dismissed them with a nod before he picked up the receiver.
“Send the team in, I’m waiting. Also get to the undercover section and ask the departmental head to send me a message,” Steve and his colleagues heard Paul say over the phone as they stepped out of his office. They met a group of other FOX officials which they had never met. They exchanged casual greetings and walked away.
10 Minutes Later.
“Good morning Mr Stanley,” Steve greeted as he walked into the interrogation room with Evelyn by his side.
Stanley was already sitting with his hands on the table and fetters binding them. He had a lawyer sitting by his side this time around.
“Top of the morning to you Agent, I see you’ve come with a beautiful partner this morning.” Stanley replied with his teeth shone broadly unusually as his eyes followed Evelyn’s to the seat. He seemed to have developed some confidence that morning.
Steve and Evelyn exchanged handshakes with the lawyer before settling in the seats at the other side of the table.
“You look so bright this morning Mr Stanley and I do hope you would respond to us well too,” Steve began. “Well, this is Agent Evelyn, my partner.”
“She’s beautiful,” Stanley said with a naughty look on his face. He then suddenly changed the look on his face to a serious one, “And you also need to meet my lawyer, Barrister Momoh.”
“I’ve been told he was around and I’m glad he’s here with you now,” Steve replied, flashing a look at the barrister. He took out a paper and handed it over to the lawyer to go through. He then turned again to Stanley. “You’ve been transferred temporarily away from here and police officers should be on their way here to transport you to their Bexford office.”
“Why the transfer to another office when I’m going to perfect my bail terms soon?” Stanley squinted.
“I’m not sure of that,” Steve chuckled and moved his gaze to the lawyer’s face who was still busy reading the document. “The laws of Bethanna allows for the agencies to keep you in detention when you have such involvement as yours in terrorism.”
“What bleeping laws are you talking about?” Stanley flared up. He had suddenly changed his mood from the very cheerful one to the opposite. “You have no evidence to prove I’m involved in terrorism.”
“Please take it easy,” the lawyer said to his client calmly. Stanley looked at his face and drew in a deep breath.
Steve and Evelyn realized what was going on. Stanley’s initial confidence was all a facade, he was actually very doubtful of his freedom and only put up the show hoping to intimidate the agents.
“Mr Stanley, we checked through your call records and your movements in the past few days.” Evelyn cleared her throat gently before she began to talk. “We have proofs of all the people you contacted prior to the attack at the factory and it’s evident you had an idea about the explosive production process. Your defense and unwillingness to cooperate with us makes it quite difficult for us to ascertain if you were fully involved in the process or you were just used as a tool. If you would answer us more openly, it would not only be helpful for us but would certainly be helpful for you too.”
Stanley kept his gaze on the Agent’s face speechlessly. He looked humble and now like someone requiring help.
After some seconds silence, Evelyn spoke again. “I have some few questions I’ll like you to answer before you leave.” She began in a cool voice.
“I’ll like to have a word with my lawyer in private,” Stanley interrupted.
“Keep the earpiece on and your eyes on the look out,” Henry said, looking into the rearview mirror to confirm his looks. He touched the attached beards and moustache gently and then put on the sunshades. He returned the rearview mirror to it’s position before putting on his face cap. “I’ll get to you as soon as I can,” he said and opened the door to step out.
He closed it back immediately and looked again at his reflected image in the tainted glass window. He put both hands into his pockets as he proceeded in the left direction. He stopped and turned after walking about eight metres from where the car was parked. The targeted storey building was at the other side of the road. He glanced towards the left and watched as the Doctor drove the car into the road and proceeded to the place they agreed for him to wait. He turned back to the road and looked left and right for vehicles coming. After a minute of being watchful, he crossed quickly to the median and waited another minute before crossing to the other side, he almost bumped into another pedestrian at the middle of the road who was crossing in the opposite direction.
He advanced straight into the building after confirming from the security men at the door which way to take to his section he was heading to. He proceeded up the stairs through the left side entrance of the building. The flat which he was headed for was on the fifth floor. He came across few people on his way up the stairs and they only exchanged nothing more than casual greetings. No one stopped to look at him the second time or even suspiciously because it was a public building and those living in it were used to seeing many unknown faces.
He reduced his pace to think when he got to the stairs leading to the fifth floor. He had met about six people on his way up and nobody had accosted him or asked him who he was looking for even though it was his first time of being there. Why would Rex choose such a place to hide? He asked himself again. It would be difficult in that kind of environment to identify suspicious faces or even predict who was coming to your own flat.
He continued upward after letting out a breath. He took off his dark sunshades and hung it on his chest pocket, then he dipped his right hand into the trouser pocket and located the handle of his pistol.
He stepped into the fifth floor majestically and stopped at the center of the end wall in the hallway. A young lady was coming slowly towards the staircase, her eyes were fixed on her phone and her fingers so busy.
From Henry’s standing point, he quickly located six doors, three at each side of the hallway, leading into the six flats in the section.
“Hi,” the young lady greeted after flashing a glance at him and proceeded down the stairs.
“Hello,” he mumbled back at her before proceeding forward. He checked the label on the first door by the left and knew he was at the right place. He continued forward until he got to the last door by the left, it was the exact flat in the address given to him by the barrister.
He turned back sharply again towards the stairs after realizing that the young lady must have come out of the same flat. He looked at the door again and listened, he could hear light sounds coming from inside, signifying that there was still someone in the house.
He stepped closer to the door and knocked twice.
“Come in Sophie, the door isn’t locked yet. I knew you would be back to get your ID card,” he heard a muffled voice of a guy from inside. He looked in direction of the stairs again before he held the knob and turned it.
He stepped into the house gently and closed the door. The atmosphere in the living room was warm and calm. It was a moderately large and furnished living room. At the center hung bulbs of different colours but only one was turned on and it provided only a kind of pale blue lightening to the living room. The curtains behind the visible section of the dining area was fully drawn, allowing for zero entrance of light from outside. He took a look around the walls and found no pictures or frames or additional paintings of any kind. The flat screen television was on and the cable network news was running at that moment.
“I dropped it for you on the dining table, hoping you would see it before you leave.”
Henry turned sharply as he heard the sound from behind him. He saw a man pick something from the dining table and then walked back into the hallway without looking in his direction. The man obviously still thought it was the girl who returned.
He turned back again without saying anything. He took another look around, focusing on the furniture and tilings more. The whole atmosphere of the living room depicted the mood of that of a secretive person. For a moment, he felt that Rex could have actually lived or was still living in the place.
He turned back again suddenly to see a gun being pointed at him by the man standing at the dining area.
“Hey!” he mused as he put his hands in the air quickly. He was already thinking the person in the house had no security consciousness but here he was being proved wrong. “I’m not here to cause any harm.”
He stared at the face of the man in front of him. It certainly wasn’t Rex and it didn’t look like someone he knew.
“Who the hell are you?” the man fastened both hands on the gun handle.
“I’m Michael,” Henry replied. “I just have a few questions for you, please listen to me.”
“What the bleep!” the man raised his brows. “You broke into my house and you’re asking me to listen to you?”
“Hey, it’s not what you think.” Henry pleaded as he watched the man take out his phone to dial a number. “I got this address from someone and I’m here to see a friend.”
“You’ll explain that to the police,” the man said as he placed the phone close to his ears.
“You don’t have to do that,” Henry said and took two short steps slowly backwards. He could hear the sound of footsteps approaching from outside and he knew the girl the man was expecting was the one returning.
“Security, there’s an intruder…”
The man was unable to continue as the door opened at that moment and Henry quickiy grabbed the girl who stepped in.
It happened so fast. Before the man could make any move, Henry had his arm fastened around the girl’s neck and a gun to her head.
“Put down the phone, I’m not here to harm anyone.” Henry warned.
The man cut the call and put the phone down slowly. He stepped further into the living room.
“Let her go,” he said in warning tone.
Henry stepped forward with the girl in his arm slowly. The man’s face became clearer as the gap in between them closed in and his face began to look familiar.
“Let her go,” the young man said again. He looked like someone in his late twenties and the lady which Henry held was his younger sister.
“Wilson,” Henry called softly as he remembered who the young man was. He released the girl but still held the gun up.
Wilson widened his eyes at Henry’s face, still pointing his gun at him. He hugged his sister who ran to him.
“Wilson,” Henry called again. “It’s me, Louis.” Henry added, lowering his gun slowly.
“Louis?” Wilson squinted hard at his face, still very suspicious of the intruder.
“Yes, Louis Winston.” Henry replied and took the cap off his head slowly and dropped it on the floor.
Wilson’s lips parted slowly in shock as he stared at the face. He watched Henry take his time to remove the attached beards and moustache. He lowered his gun slowly and walked closer to Henry for an embrace.
“Where have you been all these while?” Wilson asked, after he settled in the seat with Henry. His sister had also walked back out of the house.
“It’s a long story Wilson,” Henry breathed out. “Well, I’m here in search of Morris. Where is he?”
“Morris…” a sad look appeared on Wilson’s face as he got up from the chair and turned his back to Henry, tears slowly formed in his eyes.
Henry got up from the seat and turned to his front.
“What’s wrong? Did anything happen to him?” He squinted at the younger man’s face. He knew it was impossible for Rex to have died so quickly if he indeed escaped the murder attack of the Wolves.
“He left few months ago,” Wilson finally answered, sniffing in to stop tears from rolling down his eyes.
“He left? For where?” Henry questioned.
“He didn’t let me know, he contacted some men and they came to take him.” Morris sniffed in again. “He made me promise never to let anyone know or hear about him.”
“Which men came for him? Tell me,” Henry urged.
“He promised me not to tell you if we ever meet again,” Wilson replied with a sigh.
Henry widened his eyes.
“He used to live here with us,” Wilson continued to explain. “But one day, he suddenly said he had to leave because you had returned to town.”
“Because I returned?” Henry looked so perplexed.
“Yes, it was a night.” Wilson closed his eyes to hold in tears. “After watching the news with him, he told me he was going to leave and never return and that you should not try to find him. He did not tell me where he was leaving to.”
Henry’s lips parted unconsciously and his face looked deeply confused. What could have happened to Rex? And why would he not want to be located?