***Twenty minutes later, with the receptionist, in the junior Pharmacist’s office***
‘Do you recall any student that visited Dr. Hammed last week?’ James began the questioning section.
‘Student? Dr. Hammed rarely has visitors’ the receptionist replied, narrowing her eyes, she struggled to remember those who visited the past week ‘But a student visitor was with him in his office last week’ James pressed on.
‘Precisely on Monday’
‘Yeah! That’s true!’ She exclaimed, remembering a certain pharmacy student who visited. ‘There was a Unilag girl who was here to see him last week’
‘Who’s she? Was that the first time you saw her here? Do you know what she came for?’
‘No, I saw her for the first time on Thursday the previous week, she came asking about Dr. Daniel Umaru and I told her that he doesn’t have her time’
‘She was making trouble with me when Dr. Hammed saw us, he then asked her to come back on Friday to see him’
‘What did she want to see Dr. Umaru for?’
‘About the conference and I told her to check our website for more information but she insisted on seeing the Doctor’
‘Hmmm, the conference’ James glanced at Segun who nodded; it seemed they were making progress already. ‘Did you suspect anything unusual about her?’
‘No, she was just a stubborn University student’
‘Nothing unusual happened when she was here?’
‘No except on Friday when Dr. Hammed slept off during work hours, that was very unusual of him’
‘He slept off after meeting with her?’
‘Yes, he slept off after she left his office and…’ she paused, she narrowed her gaze. ‘We had to remind him about a lot of things when he woke up’
‘How did you know that he forgot a lot of things’
‘I know’ she sounded confident. ‘For example, he came to ask if some of our clients which he was expecting to visit him came that day, whereas they met him when he came, he even followed them out to the reception when they were leaving’
‘You saw him come down with them?’
‘Yes, he came down with them and went back to his office with her’ she affirmed. ‘I was surprised when he came down several hours time to ask if I had seen any of the clients or if they had call to inform us that they were not coming anymore’
‘Interesting’ James nodded slowly, thinking deeply about all he heard and trying to draw a conclusion from it.
‘You said she is a student of Unilag, what’s her name and what course does she study?’
‘She didn’t tell me’ the receptionist lied, not remembering if the Unilag girl mentioned her name. ‘But she’s a student of pharmacy’
‘Okay, thank you very much. We’ll get back to you if we need more information and please, don’t hesitate to provide us with anything you remember’ James concluded.
Benny grouched within himself as they drove past the developed areas of Orugbum, he glanced at the compass application on Tarasha’s device; they were still on track, now very close to their new lodge. He wondered what kind of job they came to do, which required a desolate place like this to work from.
At five pm, they finally got to the place which the compass was indicating; it was a large bushy compound, with a hold rickety house in the middle. A water well with several green plants grown on it was at the left side of the house. They drove in through the widely opened rusted black gate. Cole and Aisha also drove into the compound in a Benz after Benny brought the truck to a halt at a far distance from the house. The vehicles couldn’t go close any further because of the thick bushes that had grown in front of the house.
Tarasha was the first to jump down from the truck, she placed her both hands on her waist, turning round as she surveyed the place with her eyes. She walked to Cole and Aisha, demanding that the boot of their car be opened. Her request was granted immediately, Cole came out of the car to join her, Benny was also trudging towards them. Tarasha brought out three tools bags from the both, dropping them on the floor. She opened one which contained machetes and some other clearing equipments.
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‘I believe you know the reason we need this now’ she said smiling, motioning Cole and Benny to grab their tools. ‘Make a clear path to the entrance of the house Benny and Cole obeyed the order while Tarasha opened another bag, a bigger one. She brought out some satellite devices and scattered them on the floor, carefully selecting the ones she needed . Aisha came to join her. ‘We’ve got no foodstuffs here, start making a list of everything we need. Someone would go to the town with you to get them’ Tarasha said to Aisha. She picked up another machete and put some of the devices in an empty bag, then she proceeded to the various sections of the compound she had already selected to install the GPS and network devices, clearing the way with the machete as she walked.
They all converge where there vehicles were parked after completing their tasks. All looked dirty except for Aisha, who as a result lost confidence to talk them about eating seeing their condition.
‘We need water ‘ Tarasha stated an obvious fact.
‘I have only little water here’ Aisha said, she opened the car and brought out a 100cl bottle of water
‘We need more’ Cole said sharply after taking a glance at the bottle.
‘There’s a well over there’ Benny joined, pointing to the left side where the well was.
‘What do we use to fetch from it?’ Cole questioned.
‘Let’s check the house’ Benny replied him, ‘we may be lucky to find something to use’ With that, the group proceeded into the house except for Cole who went to first inspect the well. The entrance door gave way easily to a soft kick from Tarasha. The sitting room had been taken over by cobwebs, dusts and several other impure particles. The black turned grey old fashioned sofas had already become a habitat for little flying insects. Red headed lizards, cockroaches, ants and rats of various sizes were also seen sprinting in different directions for safety as the group walked in.
A look of disgust appeared on Benny and Aisha’s faces while Tarasha remained indifferent. The chaotic condition of the house was little compared to several other situations she had experienced during her training, so it didn’t mean much to her.
‘The water in the well is so dirty, I don’t think… ‘ Cole was saying as he walked in through the entrance, he stopped abruptly on noticing the condition in which the house was. He gave a prolonged whistle and stood dumbfounded, forgetting temporarily about the need for water.
‘Huh? What tha hell is wrong?’ Tarasha slammed glancing at their faces one after the other, she turned to Aisha. ‘Where’s the list I asked you to make?’
‘Here is it’ Aisha handed a piece of paper to her. After scanning through the list, she spoke out,
‘by now you guys should understand why I asked us to bring a lot of things you thought are going to be useless. I’m going to town to buy some of the things we will need, you guys should clean up this place for us to sleep tonight’
‘I thought you said I’ll go with someone’ Aisha cried as Tarasha folded the paper and tucked it in her pocket.
‘Yea, I changed my mind. I’m going now, you stay with Cole and Benny and help them clean this place’ Tarasha smirked, she stretched out her palm to Cole, demanding for something. Cole understood and handed her the car keys before she could voice out her demand,
‘are you going like this, you look dirty?’
‘I can clean up with the water Aisha has’ she answered.
‘I’ll get more water for everyone’s use tonight’
‘Tonight?’ Benny stressed, ‘you’re talking about tonight only, does that mean we’re leaving here tomorrow? Won’t we use water for the rest of our stay here?’
‘We’ll have to dig out a new source of water tomorrow or better still clean up that old well’ She replied calmly, smiling as she looked at their faces. …
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to be continued