Henry remained on the spot staring at the face of the man on the wheelchair, he was too shocked to move. He felt the urge to say something or call his friend’s name but his lips were strangely sealed. Only Wilson moved closer and squatted beside the wheelchair, holding Morris’ hand in his. Samantha also stood beside Henry dumbfounded, she had not known Rex but from Henry’s talk about him, this wasn’t the Rex she expected. He probably wasn’t lucky to escape the murder in a healthy form like Henry.
“The fall was so intense, it affected his spine, his brain, he has dysarthria and is numb. It’s a miracle that he survived this long without proper treatment, ” Ovil Matuse began to explain on seeing Henry startled. “He should have gotten better than this but the change of environment affected him a lot and we started with treatments to make him adapt first instead of treating his condition with herbs, we had to travel far and wide to get the herbs used to make the concoctions for him.”
Ovil Matuse stopped when he got to Henry’s front, he stared him in the eyes for a second and then walked to his back to close the door.
Henry turned his neck for the first time since he entered the room and watched Ovil walk to the bed. The bed was clean and firm like it had never been touched.
“He doesn’t like to sleep in his bed always, that’s why we provided a head pad for his wheelchair.” Ovil continued. “The only thing keeping him alive is our herbs and sometimes, I feel like he wants to communicate to him that I should let him die but I remember promising him sometime ago that I would never let him go.”
“Can I talk to him now?” Henry asked in a very calm voice, staring at Ovil’s face. He sounded so weak, like someone who had been defeated.
Ovil stared at him, wondering if he had been listening to the explanation he had been making. He however understood what his state of mind could be like. He knows it would be difficult to recover from the shock especially if he hadn’t been told how sick his friend was.
“You can talk to him but he cannot reply you,” Ovil replied. “The last time he was able to make any sound was five months ago and even then, no one could hear his words.”
With very low and heavy steps, Henry proceeded forward and stopped before his long time friend. Wilson rose and stepped back. Henry went down slowly and placed a knee on the floor, he grabbed both palms of Rex’s hands as he stared deeply into his eyes. Tears filled his eyes slowly and he tilted his head backward and closed his eyes for a moment to ensure the tears did not drop. He sniffed in and stared in Rex’s eyes again. He then turned his neck to Ovil again and said in a frustrated tone. “How did this happen?”
Ovil seemed confused and he stared at Wilson’s face in response, believing Wilson was the best in position to answer the question.
Henry turned his focus to Wilson’s face when he saw Ovil staring at the young man. He remembered all Wilson’s previous explanations before they got to Kebba, how Wilson had kept on mentioning that he made the phone calls for Rex, including the phone call to Ovil and to Tanko. He now realized the reason for that must have been Rex’s slurred speech. But Wilson had not given him complete details about the illness, he had only given the idea that it was a serious one.
“What happened Wilson?” Henry asked again, now staring at Wilson intently.
“I don’t have the full details but I can only tell what happened after the day he met me,” Wilson replied.
Henry repositioned his body to listen to Wilson.
Wilson began to narrate all he could remember and Morris listened attentively, unable to add to the discussion, everything began to play in his mind again just like it had happened.
April 4, 2015
Kunt, Irel State,
It was a sunny Saturday. Wilson was in the house playing video games with Sophia. It was one of those periods they had time together. He was on leave from his work as a cleaner in the hospital and she was also on her first semester break from school.
They lived in a small apartment of two rooms, the first doubling as the living room and as the “sleeping room” for Wilson. He had his bags and most of his properties in the second room which was the main bedroom but he decided to leave the room to his sister alone. The living room had two sofas in it, a long three seater and a one-seater. The three seater was where Wilson passed the night on ever since they began to stay in the apartment. An ancient television and a DVD player was also in the living room with the game consoles and pads. A fan hung at the center of the room while the white florescent bulb hung on top at the middle of the wall by the left side. It had two windows which had two thick curtains covering them, one by the left and the other at the front, opposite the television.
“You’re sure not going to win tonight,” Sophia boasted with smiles as she made the choice of an avatar using the controls on the game pad.
“That’s what you say everytime,” Wilson replied.
“This time is different,” she chuckled.
“Let’s see how different it would be,” Wilson smiled.
His phone began to ring just after they had finished choosing the avatars. He got up from the floor where they were sitting close to the Tv and walked to the three-seater to pick the phone ringing there.
He stared at the unsaved number calling him and frowned. He had received calls from the same number twice that day but everytime he picked, he heard nothing from the other side. He returned to the front of the television, contemplating for a while whether or not to answer the call again. Before he finished deciding, the phone stopped ringing. He sat and placed the phone down beside him and then picked the game pad to continue his game.
“Why didn’t you answer it?” Sophia asked.
“I’ve been called twice by the same number today and I hear nothing from the other end,” Wilson replied. “It could be a kid playing around with his parents’ phone.”
The call wasn’t returned neither was there another immediately. They continued with their game. Thirty minutes later, there was a knock at the door.
“Who’s at the door?” Sophia asked.
There was no response. The knock sounded a second time. They both looked at the door this time around.
“Who is there?” Sophia asked again. There still came no response.
They stared at each other in the face. The knock sounded a third time.
Wilson got up slowly from his seat. He had thought initially that the person at the door was one of Sophia’s friends that comes to greet her usually. He walked slowly to the door.
“Who’s it?” he asked again as he put his hand on the knob, but still unwilling to open without getting a response first.
“Wilson, please open the door.” He heard a weak voice say from outside.
He couldn’t recognise the voice but the person had just called him like someone who knew him well.
He used the other hand to unlock with the key in the keyhole before turning the knob.
A bruised looking Morris staggered into the house, his right hand grabbing the left shoulder at the top. He tottered to the one seater and sank into it.
“Morris!” Wilson cried out and quickly locked the door.
Sophia turned and expressed shock on seeing him walk in. She got up and moved closer to him.
“What happened?” Wilson asked, with deep concern in his eyes.
“Get me a cup of water first,” Morris ordered, still holding his shoulder.
Sophia rushed to get the cup of water and was back in few seconds. Morris took the cup with his left hand and gulped down the content, he handed it back to Sophia.
“You are bleeding,” Wilson cried out on seeing the blood on Morris’ shoulder.
Morris closed his eyes and rested his back calmly, trying to catch his breath.
“I need your help,” he finally said to Wilson when he opened his eyes.
“Didn’t he tell you what happened?” Henry questioned Wilson. He got up to his feet, having been feeling discomfort in his ankles with the way he squatted.
“He did,” Wilson squinted at the ceiling again.
Wilson and his sister watched in horror as Morris screamed while taking out the bullet from his shoulder. The lead object fell to the floor and Morris took a deep drag of breath, his eyes widened in pain. He kept on breathing in and out deeply for a while.
He was on the three seater sofa with his shirt already torn off from his body. There were bandages and plasters on different parts of his belly and chest.
A pack of ice which he had placed on the surface of the shot to numb the wound was still on the pan on the floor. Beside it was an almost empty bottle of Whiskey which he had to take several swigs of to dull the pain as much as possible. There was a lowly burning stove beside Sophia and a bowl of clean water.
Morris turned after some seconds to look at Wilson’s face and he seemed to understand what he wanted as Morris had already giving him instructions earlier. He applied some few drops of alcohol on the large piece of cotton wool and handed it over to Morris. Morris began to clean around the surface of the wound with the piece, grunting in pains as his hand gently squeezed the wool massaged the area.
“Increase the intensity of the stove,” he said in a gruff voice to Sophia and she obeyed immediately. He handed the knife by the handle to Wilson. “I need the blade hot, you can bring the stove closer to me.”
Thirty minutes later
With the help of Sophia and Wilson, Morris was able to get his wound dressed. Still shirtless, he remained on the three seater sofa, his back at the corner between the armrest and backrest. Sophia was sitting on the one-seater adjacent him while Wilson sat at the other end of the three seater.
“We can’t stay here tonight and we also have to leave town first thing tomorrow morning,” Morris spoke after a long time of silence.
“Why?” Wilson questioned.
“They would come looking for me,” Morris replied.
“Who are they?”
The fear written on the faces of Wilson and his sister was so obvious. They knew from the instant Morris came in that there was danger, maybe not just for him but for them too if they helped him but they could not have rejected helping him, he had been a great help to them in the past.
“Some men we executed a job for,” Morris finally answered. “They’re definitely going to come in search for me.”
“I don’t understand,” Wilson frowned.
“It’s not time to explain, go in and take few of your things and let’s leave here as soon as possible.” Morris said and sat up, showing his readiness to start moving. “Get me one of your big shirts,” he said to Wilson. His own shirt had been stained with blood and was so wet.
Wilson and Sophia stared at each other for a moment. They didn’t know where to start from or even if they should follow him but they knew he would never hurt them.
“He told me the two of you worked for an organization that betrayed you,” Wilson continued the explanation. “He said it was time for them to pay the both of you but they refused, instead they sent assassin to you. He said he wasn’t sure if you were still alive,” Wilson paused and stared at Henry’s face. “We left the house that night and slept in an uncompleted building, we left town as early as four o’clock the next morning.”
“And where did he take you to?” Henry asked.
Wilson stopped and stared at Morris face for a moment. Morris remained still in his wheelchair and didn’t make even a blink of the eyes.
Wilson continued his narration. “We kept changing locations daily, from Kunt to Ogbe to Rael and finally to Osti. We stayed together in Osti for a month.”
“And nothing happened during that month?” Henry asked.
“My sister was still on break and did not miss any class yet,” Wilson continued. “Morris was not always too well, I kept going into town to get drugs for him but I think he needed more than self medication. He later confessed to me that the wounds he had in his belly were bullet wounds and that he had not been able to treat himself well because he was still been pursued by the assassins, his case got worsened and he developed some infections.”
“Why didn’t he get a doctor or go to a good hospital?” Henry questioned even though he knew the likely reasons that wouldn’t have been possible.
“I told him several times but he always said the assassins would locate him immediately he starts to receive treatment from a registered hospital and the smaller hospitals had no facilities enough to take care of him,” Wilson replied. “Another challenge was getting money, he was always being careful not to be traced.”
Henry could now connect all that had happened and all that he had seen. The reason Rex had gone to his lawyer to change the deal was because he couldn’t go to his own personal lawyer to avoid being nabbed there.
“So, what happened?” Henry asked and then turned slowly to Ovil, squinting his eyes at him. “You said he had a fall, how did that happen?”
Ovil frowned and stared at Wilson’s face instead of answering.
“Morris’ condition was getting worse, so after thirty days in Osti, he had to leave us.” Wilson continued, having everybody’s eyes fixed on him again. “He gave me a phone, an access card and a debit card and another device. He told me I couldn’t reach him but he was able to reach us whenever he wanted to. My sister returned to her school in Bexford, I was left alone in Osti. Morris called few days after he left and told me he had located a hospital where he could get treated.”
May 22, 2015
“The wounds were not properly treated,” the female doctor complained, staring at the patient with a frown on her face.
A male doctor was at the other side and two nurses assisting them were also in the room. The doctor and nurses had gloves protecting their hands. The patient was laying flat with his eyes closed in bed, his shirt was off and his well built chest covered with wounds was bare.
“We need a scan,” the second doctor noted after taking a further look with the aid of the equipments. “I think there’s a bullet still hiding somewhere, it has caused some infections and we have to take it out before it causes more damage.”
“Let’s go straight to the scan then,” the female doctor said. She stared at the patient’s face as she began to take off her hand gloves. “I’ll go get it set up,” she said and turned towards the door.
Morris could hear the footsteps of the doctor in the silent room as she walked to the door. He opened his eyes and saw the male doctor and the two nurses still by the bedside.
“How long would this treatment take?” He asked in a gentle voice, looking directly at the doctor.
The doctor stared at him first with a suspicious look before answering. “We can only know that after the scan,” he replied. “We need to be sure of the amount of damage that has been done first before we decide the treatment that needs to be applied but it’s obvious you’re going to be here for more than a week.”
Morris smiled to himself, knowing he wasn’t planning to stay in the hospital for more than three days. He knew the results of the scan would make the doctors more suspicious of him and they would probably send information about him to the police in the town. It would also take the police intelligent department the next day to search details about him and if they weren’t looking for a criminal who was shot at the same time he was, they would forward the information to the headquarters. And even though the police wasn’t looking for someone like him, the danger would be that the information would also get to the men hunting for his life and they would in no time come for him.
“I would need printed copies of the scan results,” Morris said to the doctor.
“Do you have someone coming to meet you?” The doctor asked.
“Yeah, my brother would be coming here soon.” Morris replied.
May 24, 2015
It was Morris third day of being in the hospital. A surgery had been carried out on him on the second day and the bullet trapped in his body had been taken out. His system had been washed clean of the infection and he was placed on intravenous therapy to help him regain strength.
When he woke up that morning, he knew it was time to leave. The breakfast he ordered for was brought to him and he was assisted by a nurse in eating the food. After the nurse left, he began to plan how to leave the hospital. His treatment wasn’t perfected yet but he believed the most important part had been done.
About five Sonata vehicles drove speedily into the hospital compound, the nurses and staffs of the emergency section rushed out immediately in readiness to tackle the situation but they were stupefied when the vehicles parked wrongly on the road and roughly dressed thugs stepped out of the vehicles.
From the back seat of the first vehicle, a lightly disguised Richard Brad stepped out. He was putting on a black suit jacket on a shredded blue jean, he had a dark eye goggles covering his eyes and held a small pistol in his right hand.
He led the men hurriedly into the hospital and walked straight to the reception, he demanded for them to lead them to the ward where Tammy Rand was. Seeing the number of thugs in the hospital and the weapons in their hands, the nurses searched the information and gave it to them out of fear immediately.
Richard pushed away and kicked any body that tried to come his way as they forced a nurse to lead them to the ward with the information provided. He pushed away a man dressed in the cleaners overall who almost collided with him at the sharp turn. He proceeded hurriedly with his men first to the office of the doctor in charge of the patient. The cleaner who was pushed to the floor picked himself up and the tools after the thugs had walked away.
Richard Brad forcefully made the doctor and nurses lead them to the ward. He stopped and ordered everyone to pause when they got to the door. He looked back to ensure the rest of the men who were there with him were ready with their weapons, then he pointed two of the men to lead the attack in.
He stepped back as the men opened the door and rushed in with their weapons, he followed shortly after with the doctor and nurse. The bed was empty.
“What the hell is this?” He shouted angrily at the doctor. The shivering doctor stared at the nurse’s face.
“He was here,” the nurse walked hurriedly to the bed. “I helped him take breakfast some minutes ago.”
Richard Brad breathed out heavily and turned his face towards the door to the toilet in the ward which wasn’t perfectly closed. One of his men kicked it open and rushed in.
“There’s no one there,” he said after stepping out.
“He was still so weak this morning, I helped him with breakfast.” The nurse said again.
“He must be somewhere around,” Richard Brad thundered. “Spread out and search around,” he ordered and then picked out his phone to make a call to those outside the hospital and at the reception to be on guard.
80 minutes after
Richard Brad and his thugs had searched everywhere in the hospital and around without seeing any sign of Morris. Brad was about to call off the search and leave the place but was asked by Kahn to turn back to the hospital and question the doctors in charge of the patient.
“What did you treat him for?” Brad questioned the female doctor.
“He had untreated bullet wounds and some minor internal injury,” the doctor replied.
Brad relayed what he was told by the doctor to Elvis Kahn on phone.
“Ask her if anyone came to visit or ever asked of him and ask the nurses if they ever noticed anybody talking to him on phone or anything,” the strategist voice sounded from the other end. Richard Brad could tell they were together. He had not met with both men but recognized their distinct voices through their several times of interaction via phone call.
“Did anyone visit him or did he talk about anyone coming?”
“No, no one came. He had no explanation when we asked for his family members or friends,” the doctor replied and then squinted on remembering something. “He asked for hard copies of his scan results, he said he wanted to show them to someone.”
“Did he mention who the person was?”
“He said he was his brother but the brother never visited,” the doctor answered.
“Can I have copies of the scan?”
The doctor walked quickly to her table and began to search through the files.
Brad returned to his phone call. “He had no visitors but I’m requesting for copies of his scan results which he got from them.”
“Also request for deeper details about his treatment,” the strategist said.
Brad was on his way out of the place twenty minutes later. He got a call from Elvis Kahn as they drove out through the gate.
“Scan and send pictures of those scan results to us as soon as possible, also send every detail of the treatment.” he heard the strategist say.
“Right away sir,” Brad replied.
“He called me again on the third day and told me he had left the hospital,” Wilson said and paused to take a seat on the bed. “I asked why he left the hospital without waiting for treatment and he said the assassins had traced him to the place and he was leaving to continue treatment in a smaller hospital.”
“He said so?” Henry interjected.
“Yes,” Wilson nodded. “He said the government hospital had done the major aspect and he could continue the treatment elsewhere but not immediately.”
“So, what happened afterwards?”
“That night, he called again and said he was on his way to a hospital contrary to what he told me earlier. He said the pains were unbearable and he had no first aid facility to help himself,” Wilson continued his narration. “He called me when he got to the hospital and told me he was receving treatment already. That night, he also told me the use of the other device he left with me, he said I could use it to find his location at any point in time and that I could use it if I didn’t hear from him within a period of twenty four hours. We spoke the next day and he was fine until the day after, I didn’t hear from him. I tried reaching him but I could not connect. I decided to use the device to find his location. It showed me a point in the Oso Rock and that was where I found him, at the bottom of the rock, terribly injured and almost dead. He would have died if I did not get there early enough.”
“Do you know how he got to the bottom of the pit?” Henry asked Wilson, with his face full of expression of inner pain. Oso rock was close to a kilometre above the ground level. Henry imagined how painful and hurting falling from that distance could have been. He was sure it wasn’t a straight fall, if it was, there would have been no way he would have survived it.
“I’m not sure, his speech has been slurred since then and he found it difficult to tell me anything. I could only pick out that the assassins pursued him to the rocks and he had a fight with them on top, he was outnumbered. He either fell from the top or was pushed. I arrived there minutes after his fall, it was a miracle that I still found him alive.”
Henry let out a deep breath and looked at Rex’s face. He could see the pain written all over. His friend had really gone through a lot and he probably would have gone through the same or even worse ordeal if he wasn’t lucky to have been taken to Anthanna by men traveling on the sea. There was however some things Henry had not been able to deduce from Wilson’s narration. He didn’t know what happened before Morris got to Wilson’s house, he also didn’t know how the Wolves whom Wilson thought were assassins found Morris in the smaller hospital.
Tears filled Rex’s eyes. He wished he could talk to his friend Carl. He wished he could tell him how he got to escape death from the Wolves on the night their families were killed, he wished he could explain that the Wolves had found him in the smaller hospital through the scan results – they had sent the results as a memo to all doctors and hospitals in Bethanna, stating that any patient who presented such should be reported to the police. he felt the pain again as he remembered how he struggled down the Oso rock, how he would grip a pointed edge of the rock for few seconds before it would give way, how he would roll and hit his body against the rock until he caught a grip of another point which would break after some few seconds of holding on. He was lucky to have finally fallen into the water at the bottom of the rock which was deep then because of the rainy season. He had crawled out of the water weakly to the dry land at the bottom to hide. Wilson had thought he found him early, not knowing Morris had been out there long enough for his wet clothes to get dried by the sun.
Henry squatted in front of his friend again and they stared deeply into each other’s eyes. Rex wished Carl had never found him. How in the world would he be able to tell him that the Wolves never took their eyes off him even at the bottom of the pit.
“Hello Hutton, I hope you have good news,” Elvis Kahn said into his phone as he walked into the living room.
“Yeah Kahn, Carl Winston has just found his friend. He’s getting into our hands already.”
Kahn smiled to himself. He praised Hutton in his heart. He remembered when Hutton had advised that they leave Rex alive since he was already incapacitated that he could be of use to them in the future, most of the executives including him had disagreed but Hutton insisted.
“Thank you Hutton, for insisting we kept him alive, now he is indeed useful. You are indeed a great asset to the Wolves.”
To be continued……