‘I don’t remember her name’ Dr. Hammed stated for the umpteenth time He was sweating in the air conditioned room though he was putting on very light clothes, the endless sessions of interrogation which started on Saturday had begun to wear him out. At first, it was the EFCC who started questioning him on Saturday, their lists of questions never seemed to end. Several of the officials would come asking questions, most which he didn’t have answers to, they would leave after they had threatened him and didn’t get results, only for a superior to to show up in a space of two to three hours with another set of questions when he thought the session had ended.
He had already sworn to return all the monies he had stolen and kept in both foreign and Nigerian banks after the officials at the EFCC cracked him, so that his judgment in the court would be tendered with mercy. He now wondered why the police were after him again, he returned to his house from the EFCC’s headquarters only to be welcomed by a letter from the police criminal investigation department inviting him for another session of interrogation.
‘We heard that you had an unusual experience on Friday after the Unilag girl visited’ An Inspector whose name he found out to be James asked, another dark skinned inspector was standing close to him.
‘I didn’t have any unusual experience’ the man countered.
‘But you slept off during working hours’ James focused his eyes on him and smiled mockingly. ‘Or is that how you sleep off lazily at work?’ James pushed a button with his statement and it was visible on Dr. Hammed’s face, he wished he could land a heavy punch on James’ face but his situation would only worsen if he acted stupidly. ‘Sorry sir’ James apologized calmly, ‘but we only want to help you, if you just tell us the truth , it would make our investigations easier and we would stop disturbing you’
‘I slept off truly’ Dr Hammed finally gave in. ‘I think I took something poisonous that day’
‘Did you found out what it was you took?’
‘No, I didn’t have the time. I’ve been very busy’
‘But was sleep the only effect it had on you?’
‘No’ the doctor stuttered for a while. ‘It came with loss of memory, I didn’t remember some of the things I did before I slept off’
‘Like two hours before you slept?’
‘Yes’ the doctor glanced at his face suddenly. ‘How did you know the duration of time?’
‘Calm down sir’ James said and stood from the table he was sitting on. ‘Some of our men had a similar experience like that recently. For how long did you sleep that day?’
‘I don’t really remember, but I slept until someone woke me when it was almost closing hours’ He paused, licked his lips and continued. ‘But my eyes were still very heavy when I got home that day, I slept off without even taking dinner till morning the next day’
‘Hmm, maybe you were poisoned with the same substance as our men’ James stated, he returned to his former position on the table. ‘They slept from evening till early the next morning when they were found’
‘Incredible! Someone must have played far on me’ the doctor exclaimed, covering his lips with his two hands. ‘You said you slept off after she visited?’ James pushed further immediately, taking advantage of the man’s new mood.
‘I don’t know when she visited, but everyone said I didn’t come out of the office for several hours after I went in with her’
‘You see, you need to remember her name so that we can trace her, she might just be a very dangerous criminal’ James emphasized. Dr Hammed remained silent for some minutes, he cracked his brain furiously for answers.
‘I saw her name on a notepad she left in my office on Thursday, I don’t really remember but I know her first name was not a Nigerian native name’
‘Try harder sir, you can remember’
‘ I’m trying, I don’t just know what happened to me. Since then I’ve been forgetting things very quickly’
‘Well, our only hope for now is her name’ The doctor scratched his head, looking at James’ face, a feeling of regret suddenly took over him. He regretted the day he submitted his application to Derl Pharmacy, the day he was promoted and started to work closely with Dr Daniel Umaru and the day he succumbed to doing dubious deals with Dr Umaru. Now, he was going to loose all he had gathered all his life, both the ones gotten legally and illegally. The case had prompted EFCC to investigate deeper and they dug out several other dubious deals that Dr Umaru had done, including his name in the ones he didn’t even know about.
There was no way out for him, the only thing he could get was a very short prison sentence and that was why he decided to give up all his assets.
‘Her name is Samantha Osman, she’s a 300Level pharmacy student of the University of Lagos’ Dr. Hammed recited suddenly, his face glowed as he spoke.
‘Samantha Osman, 300Level pharmacy student of Unilag’ James repeated, scribbling it into his notepad.
‘Yes, that’s it’ Dr Hammed affirmed.
‘Good’ James smiled as he glanced at the details written down once again.
‘Do you also remember now if you saw her do anything suspicious when she went into the conference room with you?’
‘No, I didn’t see her do anything there. She only helped me move something from my office into the room’
‘Alright, I think it’s okay for now’ James got up from the table again. ‘Thank you for your cooperation, we’ll get back to you if we need any other help from you’
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Cole’s mouth was left agape as he watched Tarasha silently from the window exercising her body, he was counting the number of pushups she was doing and she just got to two hundred without struggling or showing any sign of tiredness. He couldn’t hold it anymore, he closed the curtains and rushed outside to join her. She was already dusting off herself when he got outside. He was so disappointed as he was hoping to see more action from her when he got outside.
‘Good morning Cole’ she greeted first, ‘how are you?’
‘Good morning Boss, I’m fine’ he replied, with a note of disappointment still hidden in his voice.
‘Why did you stay there peeping for so long instead of coming to join me?’ Cole was taken aback by the questioned.
‘How did you know I was peeping?’ He asked.
‘I saw you’ she replied smiling, ‘even if I didn’t see you, I feel it when a pair of eyes watches me’
‘Wow! But you didn’t look towards the window side at all?’ He was confused.
‘I didn’t have to look there with my physical eyes, every part of me including the physical and non physical pays attention to the environment’ Cole shook his head, he tried to assimilate what she said but ended up greatly mystified. He wondered what it would be like if Tarasha comes against him, he’ll definitely be hopeless and helpless. Tarasha’s fear increased in his heart rapidly.
‘I noticed you’re the one who wakes up very early amongst the three of you’ she disrupted his thoughts.
‘Yes, I wake up most times before Benny and Aisha does’ he responded.
‘That’s good’ she said and began walking towards the well, Cole walked with her. She suddenly turned and faced him.
‘You have to learn very well from this operation henceforth’ He stared at her face, the look on her face sought more explanation to what she started.
‘I have an assignment for you’ she continued, ‘You have to complete the first operation we did’
‘The first operation? Didn’t we finish off the minister already?’ He asked, puzzled.
‘Yes, we finished off the minister but did not eliminate every trace’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Listen carefully’ she said sternly,
‘we left some traces that would be used to find us in the minister’s operation and it is possible that we are discovered sooner or later’
‘What? Why? How?’ His heartbeat increased
‘Calm down Cole’ she said and took three steps further before going on with the discussion. ‘If anyone is going to trace that murder successfully, it must be a very competent officer’
‘Shh…’ She hushed, a smile gradually appeared on her face. ‘Don’t be scared Cole, it’s only a game, my favorite game and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too’
‘How? I don’t understand’
‘Its a game between myself and the police’ she said and then gave a wicked smile. ‘You, Cole will be my avatar for this first round’
‘Boss, you’re only confusing further’ Cole was beginning to get frustrated.
‘I want to weaken the security system in the state’ She walked further to the well and picked up the fetching bucket. ‘The trace is only going to lead a competent officer and his team to our trap and you will handle them when they come. It would be done in a way that would pount directly to you’
‘I’m still confused’ he said.
‘Don’t worry, you’ll understand later’ she said, drawing out water from the well. ‘Go in and wake the others, it’s time to reveal or mission here to you guys’ Cole’s mind was greatly troubled as he walked away slowly into the house, he tried to figure out what she meant. She mentioned that he was her avatar in the game, that might possibly mean that she was playing games with him and his life was in danger.
She also said that she didn’t eliminate all traces in the last operation so that the police could trace them and she’d set him up to face the police. That was something he had never done before, he never handled a police team before, he was only good at escaping when the police pursued a group of them and not when he was the only one being pursued. How on earth was he even going to escape if a team of ten to twenty officers were sent to him? He wasn’t even supposed to escape, the purpose of the game was to weaken the police force, that means he had to defeat the team. The thought alone sent shivers down his spine and he quickly uttered a prayer that moment.
‘Lord, if it is your will, let this cup pass over me’. But he wasn’t Christ neither did he follow Christ, so God would not answer his prayer. He resolved in his mind to run away if she insisted on setting him up with the police.
Tarasha walked in after ten minutes to meet Cole, Benny and Aisha already waiting for her in the sitting room.
‘Good morning Boss’ Benny and Aisha greeted.
‘Good morning’ she answered and took suitable seat which faced three of them. ‘I hope you guys are ready for today’s job’
‘Today’s job?’ Aisha spoke lazily, yawning. ‘I thought we did everything already. We cleaned the house, cleared the bushes and …’
‘Shut up’ Tarasha scowled angrily, making the jovial girl shocked. ‘Are you crazy? Do you think that’s all we came here to do?’
‘I’m sorry ma’ Aisha replied in low tones, greatly terrified. She wondered what went wrong and why Tarasha who was friendly with them the day before had suddenly become cold. Tarasha got up swiftly, her frown changed into a smile surprising her audience more.
‘Are you scared?’ She asked laughin loudly, mocking Aisha who was shaky already. ‘I’m not angry, I was only teaching you something, learn to switch your mood as it pleases you, don’t let your feelings control you. So it’s time to switch to the work mode’ Aisha heaved a sigh of relief, her rapidly increased heartbeat speed returned to normal. The two guys just watched in awe, wishing they could switch modes like that too.
‘We’ll start real work today’ Tarasha interrupted their thoughts. ‘We must drop our target, Kelechi Edwin before the end of the month’ Realization hit them as she walked away, Tarasha had brought them on a suicide mission. Killing the governor of Rivers State in office, with the quality of security surrounding him was an impossible mission.