Kebba, South Husan
“Hey, take it easy!” Henry exclaimed as he was pushed into the cell by the men. Wilson was thrown in after him.
The men did not wait to listen to anything as they closed the door of the cell and walked away immediately.
“Are you okay?” Henry asked, looking at Wilson who was struggling to get up. He moved closer to him to help him up but Wilson refused his help.
“Leave me alone,” Wilson wriggled his hand off Henry’s grip.
He struggled to get up with his hurting back but almost collapsed to the ground but for Henry who held him and pulled him closer to the wall to rest his back.
“Leave me alone,” he pushed Henry away again out of frustration. “I told you we were not supposed to come looking for him, there’s no way we would get out of here now.”
“Relax young man,” Henry stared at him with caution. He began to regret bringing the young man along but he remembered that it was necessary to bring him or Tanko and he was the best option. “We would get out of here, relax man.”
“These guys are barbarians, sorcerers, witches and wizards. They might end up using us for sacrifice,” Wilson complained, the look in his eyes showing regrets for agreeing to come with Henry.
“They’re not going to do anything to us,” Henry replied him in an assuring tone.
He took in a deep breath and stepped back. He looked around the cell walls slowly and then looked at the ceiling. He moved closer to the wall and touched it to confirm the material. The walls were made of strong bricks and were painted red. He moved to the small window located at the top of the back wall and held the metal rods used to make the burglary proofs. It was made of strong materials, harder than he expected. He walked to the door which was made of the same metal rods. He held the door at both sides as he moved his face closer and to look outside. He took a moment to check the padlock used to lock from outside, it was a huge one which Henry knew would be difficult to break.
He turned back into the cell and went to sit beside Wilson. He faced his palms on the ground as he stretched his legs forward. He closed his eyes and began to think of the next step to take.
He believed breaking out of the cell would not be a difficult thing to do, the only little challenge he had was Samantha being put in another cell which he didn’t think was close to where they were. There was no way for him to talk to her. They did not bring their phones to the place and the communicator which they brought had been taken from them by the men who took them to the cells.
On a second thought, he realized that there was no need for breaking out of the cell. There would be people injured or even killed during the process and it would lead to the unfulfillment of their task there. The best option they had was to remain calm and watch the men. He was also sure of Samantha’s ability to fight if the need arose, all he hoped for was that she also remained calm for the time being.
Wolves Strategy House,
Newland Estate, Bexford
Florence Brown walked briskly through the dark corridors heading for the conference room where Aaron was waiting for her. Something seemed different that morning, there were more people in the strategy house and it appeared that there was a meeting of some sort.
She passed through a couple of men who gave her no attention as she proceeded. She took out her phone as she turned into the corridor that led to the hall and dialed Aaron’s number.
“I’m close, please open the door.” she said into the phone and kept it back into her pocket.
She walked some few more steps to the door and it opened as she got to the entrance. She walked in and the door closed behind her.
Three men including Aaron were sitting on the sofas at the left side of the hall and they had their eyes on her as she looked at them.
“Congrats Florence, you passed your first task.” Aaron said, raising a glass cup. “Come take a drink,” he offered.
She walked closer to them. “No, thanks. I don’t drink.”
There were two bottles of wine on the table at the center of the sofas and three glass cups, one was completely empty showing that one of the three men was not drinking with them. She recognized the other two to be part of the men who had interviewed her the day before.
Aaron got up from the sofa and began to walk towards the large table at the center.
“So, are you just coming from the airport?” Aaron asked.
Florence ceased a breath, wondering why he was asking the question. “Yes, I’m coming from the airport.” she answered and joined him at the center of the hall.
“What were you doing there for so long?” Aaron asked, as he turned one of the chairs to sit on.
“I needed to clear off the records before returning,” She answered. “Without clearing the records, Stanley could get to be traced by the security agencies.”
“I thought you used a different profile and identity for him,” Aaron asked, he took another sip from the glass cup.
“Yes, I did but I still had to clear off the records. Any intelligent and hardworking officer could trace him up with the fake profile.”
“You’re right, we were watching you.” Aaron said. “You disappeared within the airport only to return to the car after seventy minutes.”
“Yeah, it took me time to gain access.”
“You did a good job though, Stanley has been received by our partners in Anthanna and he should be settling down to do the job we have for him there.”
Aaron had barely finished talking when the door to the hall opened and two men dressed in black suits stepped in. One of them was the man called Daysman. He took off the dark eyeglasses from his face and kept it in the inner pocket of his suit jacket. The other man walked further in to join the other two at the left corner leaving Daysman at the entrance.
“Mr Daysman,” Aaron let out a wry smile on seeing Daysman.
Daysman looked towards him and proceeded in the direction.
“Aaron,” Daysman hailed and let out his hand for a handshake.
“Here’s Florence Brown,” Aaron introduced her to Daysman.
Daysman turned to her and offered a handshake. “I heard about you yesterday Miss Brown,” he said with a stern look. “I checked your records and didn’t find anything contrary to what I read.”
“It’s my pleasure to meet you Mr Daysman,” Florence said as she took his handshake.
“So, how was your first task?” Daysman asked her.
“It went easy,” she replied.
“I see, I sincerely hope other tasks goes easy for you as well,” Daysman said before turning back to Aaron. “I got the call from the boss,” he said to Aaron.
Aaron raised his brows and then let it drop in a second. He looked at Florence. “Please excuse us Miss Brown, I’ll call you when I’m done with this conversation.”
She bowed slightly and turned away. Daysman turned a chair around and faced Aaron. They waited for her to get out of the hall before they continued talking.
“We have to be careful of her, she has no stakes with us.” Daysman said, referring to Florence.
“You watched her in the airport, did you notice any fowl play?”
“No,” Daysman shook his head. “She’s new and she’s intelligent, her intuition would let her know we are watching her and she might be trying to gain our trust.”
“You don’t seem to like her at all,” Aaron noticed.
“No, don’t get me wrong. Looks like she’s going to be a great asset but we have to be careful,” Daysman replied. “The boss has said we should find her family, and even if she is genuine, we need to tie her to us before trusting her completely.”
“What has the strategist said about her?”
“I heard nothing from him, I guess he’s out of town for a business, he should be back this week.” Daysman replied.
“How about the FOX, are they still trailing you?” Aaron asked.
“I guess they should but I’m very careful, they can’t get me by trailing.” Daysman replied.
Suntan Farms, Bexford
“Here, have it. This is the our uniform,” a middle aged woman said as she handed a neatly folded overall to Evelyn.
“Thank you ma,” Evelyn replied as she took the cloth.
She turned and looked around, thinking about which place was right for her to change into the uniform. There were several people dressed in the same uniform passing through the common room, most of them had cleaning tools with them.
“Go through that door, you’d find the changing room at the back,” the middle aged woman said to her. “Change into them quickly, I’ll be waiting here for you.”
“Thank you,” Evelyn said and walked away quickly. She had just been employed to work as a cleaner in the company and she was resuming immediately.
She returned three minutes later dressed like every other cleaner, her long hair had been well packed and held together behind by a rubber band. She met the instructor already talking to another set of cleaners. She waited until the woman was through with the other cleaners.
“You’re ready,” the instructor adjusted her eyeglasses as she scanned Evelyn from head to toe. She looked smarter in the uniform than the woman expected, so different from the earlier of appearance of a “slay queen”. “I’ll take you to the section you’d be working for the month until reshuffling,” the woman said as she walked to a table and pulled out the drawer. She took out a key and handed it to Evelyn. “Go keep your bags there,” the woman pointed her to the cupboards meant for keeping the cleaners bags. From the label on the key, Evelyn was able to know which space was meant for her.
20 Minutes later
“What did you say your name is again?” A man standing behind a table asked her.
“I’m Tracy,” Evelyn replied.
“We resume seven o’clock every morning here, the other workers resume by nine o’clock and they start using the stores most times by ten, that’s why we come earlier to clean it before they arrive. We’re meant to clean the store rooms for the eggs, the cold room for fishes and other foods, and all offices in this section. We work from Mondays to Saturdays, when you come on Monday, you check the roster to know where you would be working for that week. Do you get me?”
“Yes,” Evelyn nodded.
“Okay, today is the last day of the week already, so go join those cleaning the cold room.” the man concluded, pointing her in the direction of the cold room.
She picked the tools meant for her and hurried to join those already working there.
“Hi, my name is Tracy.” she introduced herself to a male colleague who she was working close to.
“Hi Tracy, you look new here.” He replied after giving her a glance.
“Yeah, I’m new.” she answered.
“Welcome, I’m Jacob. You can call me Jakes,” he replied her and continued his work.
“How long have you been working here?”
“Four years,” he answered.
“Oh! That’s quite some time,” Evelyn smiled and continued to work silently just like the rest of the cleaners, she had gotten the right person she needed to be friends with. Her aim was to get to none other than Daysman in less than four days.
The FOX Corporation,
EPA Hill, Bexford.
Steve was sitting alone in the investigation room, his right palm placed on the mouse and his eyes glued to the screen of the computer. He was checking through footages again, he had a note and a pen by his side in which he wrote the particular minute of each footage where he found something useful.
The phone placed by the left side began to ring. He glanced at it and saw the name of the caller. He picked and answered.
“Agent Sandra,” he said into the mouthpiece.
“Hi boss, I found where Henderson’s embalmed body was kept,” Sandra said.
“What?” Steve got up from his seat. “Where are you now?”
“I’m there, Cravings Hospital, Off Billingsway.” She replied.
“Wait for me, I’ll join you in some minutes.”
Kebba, South Husan
Samantha was laying back flat on the floor of the cell where she was locked, her eyes staring at the ceiling and her mind wandering. Everything in her belly was crying out for food but she managed to remain calm even though it appeared that the people of Kebba were planning to starve them to death.
She had been there for several hours without hearing any sound from outside. She had called out to get attention but got no response apart from her voice echoing back to her. She decided to believe that all of them had gone for the festival and no one was around or close to the cell.
She began to imagine what was going on with Henry where he was. She knew he would have searched for her if he had broken out of his cell and the fact that she hadn’t hear any sound which suggested to meant that Henry had other plans. She had also realized that breaking out may not help them achieve their task.
The distant sounds of drumming, singing and chanting which she had been hearing since she had been left alone there began to subside gradually and after twenty minutes, it totally stopped but she didn’t notice. Her mind was occupied and her body felt too empty. Not until she began to hear sounds of footsteps did she realize that the festival noise was no more.
She got up from the floor and hurried to the door. She was about to call for water when she saw two men already coming in her direction. She closed her eyes and heaved a sigh of relief on seeing that they had plates with them.
She opened her eyes when they got to the door and noticed that they were waiting for her to leave the door. She stepped back and walked to sit at the center of the cell.
They unlocked the door and the man holding the plates stepped in. He dropped them just beside the entrance and walked out again. They locked the door and walked away. Samantha rushed to take the plates. The round plate on top contained water while the one below contained the food.
She couldn’t recognize what food it was when she opened the plate, the aroma wasn’t enticing either. The food in shape looked like Macaroni but was larger and longer and of a different colour. There was no cutlery provided, so she dipped her hand in and began to eat. It didn’t taste so bad, neither did it taste delicious.
Wilson barely allowed the men who brought in the food step back out before he rushed to the door to get it.
“Hello guys, I need to talk to you.” Henry called after the men but they walked away without looking back.
Wilson took the plates of food and water to the center and sat on the floor to eat. He hesitated for a while for the lack of cutlery before he dipped his hand and began to eat without.
“I would finish this if you don’t join now,” Wilson looked up and said to Henry.
Henry only glanced at him. He wasn’t so interested in the food. He moved closer slowly and took a little of the water. He got back up and walked to the door to check if there was anyone around but there was none.
Henry was yet to eat the food kept for him by Wilson. He had only taken some more water and remained silently at his corner, waiting to hear sounds of footsteps in the corridor again.
He finally got the sound he was expecting and he rushed to the door to check. He saw two men walking towards their direction. He stayed at the door to confirm if the men were coming to their cell or would stop before getting there.
He stepped back when they got to the door. The one with the key unlocked the padlock and opened the door.
“Titevere,” the other man beckoned on them with a gesture of the hand.
Henry looked back and waited for Wilson to join him first before turning again to the door.
They both stepped out as the men directed them and proceeded forward through the hallway. The men followed behind them, holding their spears in front.
Samantha was already in the room Henry and Wilson were led to. It was a gathering of not less than ten other people sitting on short seats like footstools, all of them dressed in white except for the man who had brought Henry and his team to the house – the interpreter. Three of the ten men were sitting in front, the older man who the interpreter had taken them too sitting at the middle. Three others were sitting by the left side while four others were sitting at the right, with the interpreter at the edge.
Henry and Wilson were made to stand beside Samantha and five guards holding spears stood behind them.
“That’s him,” Wilson whispered inaudibly under his breath and caught Henry’s attention. Henry did not hear his words but looked at his eyes and noticed his expression. He traced with his eyes who Wilson was staring at.
Henry’s eyes met with the man’s eyes and he was sure without any doubt that the man was Ovil Matuse. He was sitting at the left hand side of the older man in the middle. He appeared to be the youngest man among those sitting. Henry deduced in his mind that the older man was the High Priest who was said to be Ovil Matuse’s father.
“Chii chatinofanira kuita kune varume ava vakaedza kumisa kuiswa?” the older man said in the Kebban language, asking the other men what to do with the strangers that wanted to stop the ordination.
“Ngatinzwe kubva kwavari,” Ovil Matuse requested that they be heard first. The High Priest gave his consent with a gentle nod. “I heard you guys came in search for Ovil Matuse?”
The response was not sharp as expected. Both Wilson and Samantha turned to look at Henry’s face wondering what his reason was for not replying quickly. Henry wanted to be careful in replying even though he was sure the man asking was Ovil. His spoken English sounded pure and better even though it still had an accent.
“Yes, we are here to see Ovil Matuse.” Henry finally replied.
“You don’t know him, do you?” Ovil Matuse asked.
“I’ve never met with him but he seems like no other one but you,” Henry answered.
“I don’t know you,” Ovil said with a frown. “But why did you choose to come on this day?”
“We needed to see you,” Henry replied.
“And you couldn’t come after the festival?”
“We only found out there was a festival yesterday and we never knew what kind of festival it was,” Henry answered.
“You should have made more enquires.”
“More enquires?” Henry frowned. “No one understands English language here.”
Ovil was silent for a moment, then he whispered something to the High Priest. The High Priest stared at the strangers for a while and then turned to whisper back to Ovil.
Ovil stared at them for some seconds before speaking again. “So, why are you here? I’ve never met you before, why do you need to see me?”
“We are here to see Morris, I was told he came here with you some months ago.”
Ovil frowned. “Which Morris are you talking about?”
“You took him from Vincil in Bethanna,” Henry replied. “You were driven to Vincil in Tanko’s vehicle and he also drove you back to the border.”
Ovil frowned harder. “But Morris isn’t supposed to have any friend visit him, no one knows he’s here, how come you are here for him?”
“You seem to have forgotten this face,” Henry said, pointing to Wilson.
Ovil stared at Wilson’s face for a while and was finally able to recognise him.
“You! You betrayed him,” Ovil accused.
“No, I didn’t. This man here is Morris’ best friend and he’s only here to help him,” Wilson replied.
Ovil stared at them quietly, he kept moving his gaze from Henry’s face to Wilson and back.
“Will you take us to Morris now?” Henry requested.
“Yes, I would.” Ovil replied with a frowned face. He turned to the High Priest and whispered some words to him. Then he looked towards the guards and spoke to them. “Nditorere vamwe vashanu varindi.”
Two of the guards went out and returned with five more.
Ovil got up from his seat and said some words to the elders before proceeding forward.
“Follow me,” he said to them as he walked past.
Henry and the two others turned, the guards turned and followed after them.
After walking through hallways and sitting rooms for about two minutes, they got to a short hallway with four rooms in it. Ovil led them to the last room at the right hand side.
The door of the room was opened but a thick curtain was covering the entrance. Ovil raised the curtain and walked in. Henry followed him with Samantha and Wilson behind. The guards also entered.
A man was sitting on a wheelchair facing the window, his back was turned to them. He was still and did not bother to turn even though he sensed that some people had entered into the room.
Ovil walked to the man and bent beside him. “Some people are here to see you.”
The man remained still without giving any visible response. Ovil got up and turned the wheelchair backward.
Tears formed in Wilson’s eyes as he saw Morris’ face again. Henry was disturbed, here was Rex sitting in the wheelchair but a totally different Rex it was.