Benny was jerked off with a knock on the door to his hotel room. He quickly rushed to the mirror to check if his disguise was still in order, the knock sounded again.
‘Come.. in.. ‘ he answered, forming a weak voice. The door was opened before he could finish talking; three police officers barged into the room.
‘Good afternoon sir’ one of the police officers greeted politely on seeing the old man.
‘Good morning’ the old man corrected.
‘Sir, didn’t you hear the alarm that was sounded some time ago?’ The officer went straight to his point. ‘Everyone was asked to come out of their rooms, there’s a criminal lurking around’
‘I heard it, but what could I do?’ The man replied in a pitiful voice, he took a glance at the other officer who was searching the room. ‘I came out and tried to use the elevator but it was locked, I had to come back into my room. I can’t use the stairs because of my bad leg…’
‘There’s nothing here ‘ the officer searching around interrupted. It’s okay sir, you’ll be allowed to go downstairs soon but in the meantime, don’t hesitate to raise alarm if you find anything strange’ the officer concluded and they walked out of the room in a hurry.
Officer Dakolo and the rest of his team in the control room fixed their gazes on the screen as the surveillance tapes were played. The first tape played showed the back view of the young man walking to the elevator and then another one was played that showed the front view, the video was zoomed and a screen shot of the man’s face was taken. Another one was played and it displayed the criminal in the elevator, the viewers were watching intently, then the criminal faced the camera and pointed a gun straight at it. The bullet was released and the streaming stopped immediately..
‘D–n!’ Dakolo cursed under his breath, he turned to the manager.
‘He was headed for floor 3 right?’
‘Yes he was’ the manager replied.
‘Let’s see more of the tapes’ Dakolo demanded. Several other clips were played but there was none that showed the same young man leaving the elevator or entering any room.
‘Where have you been Lovina? Everybody has been waiting for you’ Aisha said as she approached Lovina who gave her a confused look.
‘I had some problems’ Lovina replied hesitatingly, trying to answer the stranger politely.
‘Its best you go change immediately, it’s only five minutes to the flight’ Aisha advised, glancing at her wristwatch.
‘Oh! That’s true’ Lovina confirmed from her wristwatch.
‘Your uniform is there’ Aisha pointed to a different changing room, in an attempt to mislead her but Lovina surged forward, half running and walking towards three girls who were her coursemates. Cole and Aisha hid behind a wall to listen to them.
‘Where have you been?’ One of the girls scolded her as she ran towards them, the police officers followed slowly, one of them looked back for signs of Cole and Aisha. The girl turned to the other two girls who were looking shocked, their arms were folded.
‘I told you that girl wasn’t Lovina’
‘But who was she? ‘ another girl with a roughly bleached skin spoke, looking stunned.
‘Their backview and hair are the same’
‘I don’t know’ the black third girl joined.
‘I only suspected that something was amiss when she didn’t turn back to greet us when we called her name’
‘Even Jude was not looking well, he couldn’t respond to us’ the first girl added again.
‘Has the plane taken off?’ Lovina asked, she sounded frustrated.
‘No, but they were about to when we left there’
‘I have to go and stop them now, that imposter would be in serious trouble’ Lovina said and she raced towards the pilots’ lounge where Jude and Gloria went into the runway from.
‘Stay back’ Lovina shouted at the police officers who stood at the entrance, some other students and lecturers who had seen Lovina also came closer. Lovina pushed opened the slightly opened door and entered the room where Jude and Gloria had their last discussion. The door was jammed by the last of the three friends who came in.
‘D–n!’ Lovina cursed on seeing the plane through the transparent glass wall. It was already moving . She proceeded towards the other exit that led to the runway and struggled to open the door but her struggle was fruitless, it seemed the door had been locked from outside, one of her friends joined her in the struggle while the two others tried to open the door they came in through. It couldn’t open also, they had been trapped.
‘What are we going to do now?’ Cole looked frustrated, looking to Aisha for answers.
‘The plan B has failed’
‘I don’t know, I think we should just get out of here immediately’ Aisha replied, she looked around and saw several eyes staring at them already.
‘Let’s leave here before we get into trouble too’ Aisha began walking furiously out of the school’s airdrome and Cole joined her hesitatingly
. ‘We can’t leave the boss here, she might need us to escape’
‘Can’t you see that people around are suspecting us already?’ She asked, increasing her pace. ‘We might not be able to escape ourselves if we stay here any longer’
‘The car is here’ Cole pointed to a black car parked alongside with other cars outside the airdrome.
Tarasha wristwatch beeped as she piloted the plane alongside Jude, she knew at once that someone had entered the room but she was indifferent about the situation, everything was in control already, Lovina’s uniform had even been infected with dangerous substances by Tarasha and would cause severe itching to anyone who wore it. She didn’t infect only Lovina’s uniform but several others that she found hung in the dressing room. This was done to stop anyone who tried to substitute Lovina and even Lovina herself in case Benny failed.
‘That Tarasha is just too full of herself’ Aishat commented bitterly as they drove out of the aviation school. ‘Why didn’t she let us do the planning together?’
‘She’s a professional Aisha’ Cole said thoughtfully, ‘I believe she has other plans’
‘Professional my foot’ she stamped her fingers, ‘a professional that’ll soon be caught as an imposter’
‘She won’t be caught’ Cole spoke confidently as he drove, he paused and waited for the right time before turning into the road. ‘I believe in her’ Aisha bent to look into his eyes as if to ask if he is mentally stable,
‘just don’t drive to Orogbum, we need to stay somewhere else and plan on leaving this state immediately’
‘Oh!’ Cole exclaimed as he remembered something, he turned to look at the back seat.
‘Please bring that phone for me’ he said to Aisha.
‘What?’ She gave an inquisitive look as she handed the phone to him. He ignored her question and placed the phone on his lap, using his left hand to swipe through. He opened a GPS application and waited for it to load. After successfully loading, it displayed a map and a revolving sphere appeared, under it was written “searching for target 0%”.
‘What are you doing?’ Aisha asked again.
‘Wait!’ He hushed her.
‘Just don’t drive to Orogbum, I can’t picture myself sleeping in the police cell’ she folded her arms in a stubborn manner. Cole smiled as he glanced at the phone’s screen again, ‘it displayed “searching completed, one target found” and a red blinking dot appeared on the map. ‘What?’ Aisha was getting angry as she couldn’t figure out the reason he was smiling happily.
‘The plane is moving already’ he answered happily, ‘we’ll pick her up at Onne’
‘Huh?’ She asked with a doubtful tone
‘You heard me right’ he increased his speed rapidly and zoomed past slow driving cars before him.
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Jude watched in awe as Gloria controlled everything perfectly. Right from the takeoff time, he had been expecting her to look confused and watch him fly the plane but the reverse was the case, she flew the plane while he watched. He wanted to ask her questions but his mouth only opened and closed, no words could come out of it. He was full of regrets for being so careless and unsuspecting of Gloria. He remembered the day they chatted in the lecture room, he had found several of the year one students having practical on the runway after he left her to meet with John Obiano. He wondered why she wasn’t involved in the practical but he dismissed the thought of her being an unserious student, he concluded that the lecturer must have divided the students into batches for the practical and that it wasn’t her batch’s turn.
‘Who are you?’ He asked in low tones, finally finding his voice.
‘Take control Jude, I’m going to ease myself’ she ignored his question, getting ready to stand up. Jude glanced at the time, they had spent only ten minutes in air. He looked back at her to ask another question, but the look on her face had changed, her entire look had changed. The Gloria whose face once radiated the spirit of friendship and peace now radiated evil. The colour of her skin was also changing, it was then Jude fully realized that he didn’t know who he was dealing with.
‘Ok’ he said fidgeting all over, scared to look back at her face. She walked slowly out of the cockpit, a blow knocked out the first air attendant who came forward from the cabin. The noise attracted the other attendant and she appeared to find her colleague lying on the floor. She looked up at the pilot that was supposed to be Lovina but No, the Lady in the pilot’s uniform looked like the devil’s incarnate.
The disguise makeup on Gloria’s face was already fading, that made her face and hands show two different colours; one of the real Tarasha and the other Gloria. The air second hostess was silenced too but after letting out a slight scream. Tarasha saw the hostesses’ kits bag and checked to confirm if her parachute was there. …
to be continued