‘Good morning Chief’ Tarasha greeted on phone.
‘Good morning Tarasha’ a harsh voice responded.
‘Chief, have you gotten the stuff you asked me to get? I dropped it in the car parked in front of your office according to our plan’
‘Yes, I’ve seen it’ the voice answered
‘You’ve seen it? But why haven’t you called me then? You didn’t keep your part of the deal’
‘What do you mean Chief? Didn’t you say that I would get the bank alert for my balance two hours after you get the carton?’
‘Yes I said that, but you broke the agreement first’
‘You said you would do the job without killing anybody’
‘Yes, I didn’t drop anyone’
‘But it was all over the news yesterday, all the labourers at the warehouse were found dead yesterday’
‘That wasn’t me, that happened in the afternoon. I carried out the job around 3am’
‘How am I supposed to believe that you really did the job by 3am?’
‘What the hell are you talking about Chief?’ Tarasha flared up. ‘I see you don’t want to keep to your part of the deal?’
‘I will send you the balance once I’m sure that it wasn’t you that carried out the killings’ the call ended.
Tarasha was fuming with anger as she dropped the phone, it wasn’t as if the balance meant so much to her but she was angry at the obvious fact that the Chief only wanted to cheat her and she wouldn’t take that from anyone.
She checked her wall clock and pondered for a while before she picked up a pistol and a mask from her bedside and stormed out of the house. She tapped a button on the remote control and the door to the driver’s seat of her Zently 2027 model opened. She slid into the car and the door closed back automatically, she inserted two bullets into the revolver and hid it safely under the car seat after which she started the car engine and drove towards the gate which opened automatically and closed after she was out of the compound.
She drove as fast as possible, hissing every time she had to stop because of traffic signals and other road users. After almost an hour drive, she got to Gravl Avenue, she parked at a very far distance to the Chief’s house. She gave a wicked smile as she glanced at her wristwatch. In few minutes, the driver and the bodyguard that accompanied the Chief youngest daughter to school would be returning. She took the revolver from where she hid it and kept it in her purse, reason that she wasn’t properly dressed; the clothes she wore would show signs of the gun if pocketed.
She got out of the car , carefully making sure no passerby was watching or noticing her and she walked a distance closer to the Chief’s house. With her dark goggles on, she stayed by the side of the road and placed one hand on her waist, acting like one who was waiting for a cab.
After two minutes, she sighted the driver and bodyguard from afar, returning in the car. As they came closer, she started to walk through the road pretending not to see the coming car. She got the driver confused as he struggled to bring the car to a halt but not after he had gotten so close, almost hitting her.
‘What’s wrong with you ma’am? Didn’t you see the car was coming?’ The driver shouted angrily at her.
‘I’m sorry’ she pleaded, holding her chest like someone who was deeply horrified. She turned to the driver’s side to apologize.
‘You should be careful next time’ the driver continued, more calmly now.
‘I’m sorry’ she said, gasping for breath and coughing as sweat drop from her face in the hot sun. ‘I think I’ve lost my way, I was going to Eden hair salon at Gravl Avenue’
‘You’re at Gravl avenue already, just walk a little bit further and you’ll find it by your left side’
‘Please can you give me a lift there?’ She pleaded.
‘Okay yes’ the driver replied, looking at the bodyguard by his side who shrugged in confirmation.
‘Enter the back seat’
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Inspector James sat on a chair facing a man on the hospital bed, the only survivor of the warehouse attack. The man was conscious and was talking already, narrating all he knew about the attack.
‘So you don’t know any of those who attacked you people?’ James interrogated
‘Yes, I’ve never seen any of them before’ the injured man replied, he had a bandage tied round his forehead and one round his belly.
‘And they were not thieves?’
‘Yes, they were not thieves. I believe they were looking for something, they said a carton was missing among the goods they collected last night’
‘Last night? Which goods?’
‘I overheard them saying something about 3am’
‘3am? Do you people work overnight?’
‘Sometimes, we fill up some cartons and arrange them overnight but I’m not aware that something like that was supposed to happen last night’
‘Who was supposed to be on duty last night’
‘Ermm… No one, except the security men’
‘But the security men have been killed already, who else was on duty?’
‘No the two security men that was killed yesterday were not the ones on shift that night’
‘Oh! I see, do you know how we can reach them?’
‘No, I have no relationship with them, we only greet when resuming and vacating the office’
‘I think its enough already’ the Doctor interrupted as he walked in. ‘He needs rest’
‘It’s okay’ James replied the Doctor and stood up, he turned back to the injured man. ‘We’re really sorry for what has happened and we promise to get to the root of this as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation, we’ll contact you as soon as we need your help again, I wish you a quick recovery’ he said and walked out of the ward with the other officer.
‘But what do you think that hoodlums would want in a beverage warehouse?’ James asked his colleague as they proceeded out of the hospital to their car.
‘I don’t know, I think the best people to give us the answer would be the security men on duty that night’ he answered.
‘Okay, what you would do now is to go back to the warehouse and check their logs, we need to get those men’ James instructed. ‘I believe they know about the incident’
‘Ok, I’ll just go straightaway sir’
‘Good, we also have to be on the lookout for the manager Mr. Felix, there are still no signs of him everywhere’
‘Tarasha! ‘ Chief Gab called out immediately the call was answered.
‘Hello Chief’ she replied in a cheerful voice.
‘Tarasha! How come you went that far on a little issue?’
‘Was that Chief?’ She asked mockingly. ‘Or have you seen my gift?’
‘Tarasha, you shouldn’t have gone that far. I was going to send the money to you’
‘Alright’ she answered more seriously now. ‘I should get the alert in the next fifteen minutes else your daughter would be in danger too’
‘No o, Tarasha. Don’t try that at all, that would be big trouble for you’ the Chief tried to sound brave.
‘You’re the one who shouldn’t try me Chief, send the money within fifteen minutes after this call ends’
‘Okay, I will see what I can do’
‘I said I’ll see what I can do’
‘Don’t play pranks Chief, if you think you can move your child out of the school and stop me from reaching her, then you better think twice because I can already see that your men are outside the school gate and there’s no way they’ll escape me’
‘What!’ The Chief was in shock. ‘How did you know that?’
‘Let me get the alert quickly’ She said and ended the conversation. The Chief was in panic as he dropped the phone. He wondered how Tarasha knew that he had already sent men to safeguard his daughter. He wasted no time as he picked up his tablet device and transferred the remaining balance of ten million naira to Tarasha’s account and called her immediately to notify her.
‘I just sent the money’
‘Good, I received the message alert already’ she replied him.
‘So is my daughter free now?’
‘Of course, I have nothing to use her for’ she said with a chuckle.
‘Okay, we need to see. I have some other jobs for you and I need to explain to you personally’
‘We’ll see on Skype’
‘Huh? I need to meet with you, I need to see who I’m working with’
‘I don’t think there’s any need for that, we see on Skype already, isn’t it?’
‘But you’re always wearing a mask to hide your face’
‘No, that’s my face you see; that’s Tarasha’s face’ she added.
‘What do you mean?’ Chief Gab questioned.
‘The face behind that mask doesn’t have any business to do with you’ she said with a strict voice.
‘If you don’t mind Chief, I’ve got some other things to do’ she interrupted him and ended the call.
‘D–n’ he cursed as he put down the phone. He held his jaw with his hand, remembering how he had been told to deal with her carefully. He was calm after reminding himself that he couldn’t get angry with Tarasha now, he still needed her in the work he had to do; his revenge mission. He recalled his younger days as the minister of marketing and sales before he was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for drug trafficking and management of the country’s funds after being probed and found guilty by the new government at that period.
He was angry and determined to punish all the government officials that aided his arrest and conviction especially those who were also involved in some of the illegal businesses he did. With the little he had seen Tarasha exhibit and the way Vladislav had spoken about her, he concluded that Tarasha would be of great importance to him in his revenge mission which was even the sole reason he had paid Vladislav several billions to send her down to Nigeria.
‘Hey’ he called out to one of his guards who stood at the doorside in the sitting room. ‘Tell Edet to come here immediately’ The guard went out and returned with a very tall dark man with a slender body. The man bowed in courtesy to the Chief.
‘You called for me sir’
‘Yes, I did’ Chief begun, ‘two of our guys were killed this morning and I was told you were the one who saw it happening live from the surveillance cameras’
‘Yes sir, I alerted them downstairs immediately’
‘Yes, but I was told that the person left before they got to the gate’
‘Yes, it was a Lady…’
‘Shhhh… Don’t worry’ the Chief shut him up, standing up from his seating position. ‘Let’s go, I want to see the video footage myself’
Edet replied as he led the Chief to the security room. Chief Gab spotted himself on a laptop screen as he entered into the room, that laptop was the one connected to the camera in the room. He looked around the room to check if any change had been made to the room since the last two months he visited. The only change he noticed was that the room was darker than before as no bulb was turned on and would have been completely dark if not for the reflections of light from the several desktop screens in the room.
He sat down and rested properly into the chair he was motioned to and faced the desktop as Edet tried to open some files.
‘Here’s it sir’ Edet explained as a video played. ‘She wasn’t wearing mask when she drove to the gate, but she wore the mask before she came out of the car; that was when I suspected something’
‘Take it back to where she was in the car’ Chief Gab said as he watched with great interest.
‘Here’ Edet rewinded a little, then zoomed the video.
‘Only her jaw is visible, the rest of her face wasn’t captured by the camera; from this we know her skin colour’
‘Okay, play on’
‘She wore a mask and came out of the car, I don’t know how she knew where our camera was placed’ Edet explained as the video showed Tarasha with her mask on, facing the camera. She pointed to the part of the mask which covered her forehead, showing them the name ‘Tarasha’ which was inscribed on it.
‘So we can’t get any useful information from this?’ The Chief asked angrily.
‘We know her complexion’ Edet answered.
‘Are you crazy? Do you know how many people in this city alone has the same complexion?’ The Chief slammed.
‘I’m sorry sir’
‘Sorry for yourself’ Chief Gab hissed and left the room.