Tarasha Episode 34

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‘BN 10354’ Henry read aloud to himself as he studied the makeup of a particular chip on his laptop. He took a deep breath he cleared his throat. This code number was a strange one. ‘ Encrypt XL << — t.a.r– n.e.f — >> Run script = enter ‘ His laptop screen displayed the above in a pop up window. He quickly wrote them in a jotter.

What the codes meant was a mystery to him but he was sure that the key words, ‘TAR’ and ‘NEF’ referred to something very important that would be of use in his research. He took a sip of wine from his glass cup and relaxed back into his seat to think deeply. This method of encrypting used by the manufacturer of the blog was more tedious to read than the computer machine language. He wondered where a criminal could have gotten such level of technological knowledge from. He was sure that the person was highly educated and not just a petty app developer, he was also certain that the person did not get his or her education in Nigeria. What baffled him was the fact that someone with so much intelligence and knowledge had decided to use it negatively. Such great knowledge could have been used to improve the country and the information technology world at large, instead of it being used to carry out assassinations.

He got up and stretched himself, he walked to the window and opened the curtains, it was evening and the sun was gradually setting. He had worked all day without even remembering to take his lunch. It was time to take a little break, he decided to take a stroll round the street but then remembered that he also needed to get something from the office. He hurriedly put on his football jersey and pocketed his car key, setting out to kill two birds with a stone.

………..

‘D–n it!’ Don cursed scattering the books on his table angrily. He took another look at the newspaper lying on the floor again, his picture was printed boldly on it with the word “WANTED” written boldly below it. A compensation of three million naira was also promised to anyone who had information about him. He was not really angry or scared about the police’s search for him. His domain was enough for him to hide for several years without them getting any clue of his location. His anger was based on the fact that their search for him would dissuade his clients from associating and bringing jobs to him. He picked up the newspaper again.

“Wanted: Daniel Ogbighe. Criminal: suspected to be in Samantha Osman and Aisha Bello’s gang” he slammed it on the floor. He paced about angrily. When he released the information on Aisha’s location to the police, he didn’t think that it could backfire like this. He had forgotten of his escapades with Aisha right from the polytechnic and when they had both dropped out. He never imagined that she could ever be traced to him.

He was also confused about how the police connected Aisha Bello’s case to Franca who he had recently murdered. Franca had been one of his secret informant and s-x partner for years after they met with each other in a night club. Things had gone bad between them when Sandra began to demand for more money from him. The rest is history.

‘Stone’ he spoke into his phone. ‘I’m coming over to Cameroon tomorrow’

‘You sound tensed. What’s wrong Don?’ A faint voice asked from the other end.

‘I’ll explain to you later’ Don replied. ‘I have to leave this country for a while.

‘You can’t get me to start arranging for you without giving me a valid reason’ the voice replied more confidently.

‘What the hell is wrong with you Stone?’ Don replied in an angry tone.

‘Tell me what the matter is’ Stone replied, unperturbed.

‘Okay, I’m wanted in this country now. My pictures and names are all over the media. Do you get it?’ Don said in a firm voice. Stone laughed.

‘Is that’s what’s sending you out of the country?’ He said in a mocking manner.

‘What do you mean?’

‘See, if you don’t have anything to say other than this joke, allow me go and do something better’

‘D–n! I’m serious man’

‘You can’t be serious man, you mean you’re running away from your domain just because the police declared you wanted? Haven’t your influence grown at all?’

‘You don’t get it’ Don scratched his head. ‘I want to see you for some other things too, I need you to help me against an enemy ‘

‘Okay’ Stone voice sounded more considerate. ‘Who is this enemy that’s getting you on your toes?’

‘Tarasha’ Don let out a deep breath as he mentioned the name. ‘She’s really a pain in my butt’

‘Tarasha?? A she? I never heard that name before’ Stone said half laughing. ‘Is she one of these new amateur assassins?’

‘No, she’s different…’ Don gave a quick reply but was cut short by Stone.

‘Or one of your numerous side chicks that has learnt your dirty secret?’ Stone added.

‘No not that’ Don refuted quickly. ‘Have you heard about Samantha Osman?’

‘Samantha Osman?’ Stone raised his voice. ‘That name is all over the world news’

‘Yeah, it is’

‘Isn’t it the same Samantha Osman associated with top profile assassinations?’ Stone asked again to be sure.

‘Yes, her real name is Tarasha’ Don answered.

‘Wow! How did you get involved with her?’ Stone sounded somehow excited. ‘That chick would be a hell of a machine to work with’

‘Stop that’ Don slammed, getting angry by Stone’s excited tone. ‘She’s my enemy, she’s after me’

‘I see’ Stone sighed. ‘We’ll talk more when you come over, I’ll prepare for your arrival’

……………….

** 6pm **

Cole mimed along with the songs playing from his IPod as he waited patiently in the car. He glanced at his wristwatch again, he had waited for exactly one hour thirty minutes. His eyes finally caught a glimpse of Tarasha through the side mirror walking briskly towards the car. She was still dressed in the blue suit which she went out in with Dare. She entered the backseat twenty seconds later. Her eyes met with Cole’s through the front mirror. He quietly passed a brief case from the front seat to her at the back.

‘How was today Boss?’ Cole finally broke tge silence.

‘Pleasant’ Tarasha replied in a tiny feminine voice that surprised Cole, he had never heard her talk like that. He remained silent , amazed at her acting skills as he watched her open the case check its content. The person he knew was a Bossy Tarasha who gave orders, now she was acting as Evelyn, a young carefree and normal chick.

‘How did it go with Dare?’ He asked.

‘Fine, he’s cooperating’ she gave a short reply as she continued searching the brief case.

‘Alright boss’

‘Dare is still coming to pick me for dinner tonight, so we’re rolling fine’ she said. ‘You guys should get set to work’

‘Hmm’ Cole was speechless.

‘Thanks for this’ Tarasha said after closing the briefcase.

‘It’s accurate’ Cole smiled.

‘We’ll talk on phone’ Tarasha spoke and got out of the car.

She walked straight back in the direction she came from. Cole also zoomed off in the opposite direction. Tarasha had just walked for about six minutes when she noticed a car pulling up beside her. The driver pushed the horn, she looked back.

‘Someone needs a ride?’ Henry called to her with a mischievous smile. She continued walking, he drove slowly behind her. ‘I’ve forgiven you for all your wrongs, let’s be friends ‘ Tarasha kept on walking without looking at him again. He increased his speed and parked in front of her, she stopped behind the car and waited defensively for him as he proceeded out of the car.

‘Hey! Trying to run away?’ he twisted his face as he taunted her, walking slowly towards her. She remain silent. ‘It’s my day, what do you think? Are you scared? He added. She stared at him and bit her lips. She took a deep breath and tried to walk away, he blocked her. She paused again and stared into his face, she tried to feign a frustration remark on her face. ‘I work on this street and I’ve got lots of friends and supporters here, I could take revenge on you now for all you’ve done to mr’ he continued.

She remained quiet and looked around to see who was watching. She waited for seconds before attempting to walk away again. The brief case hit Henry’s leg. ‘Ouch! That hurts’ he rubbed his knee. ‘What do we have in there?’ He pointed at the case, still standing in her way.

‘Will you let me go please?’ Tarasha said in a pleading voice and hid the case behind her.

‘I won’t let you go until I get soldiers to trash you like you did to me’ he threatened. She made no reply. Henry picked his phone and feigned a phone call. ‘I repent. No revenge but you must grant me a date’ he finally said.

‘I’m not, just let me go’ she replied stubbornly.

‘Then, let’s settle the case with the police’ he threatened, pointing to a nearby station.

‘Yes, that’s better’ she replied confidently. ‘Let’s see what case you have to present’

‘Oh! I see you’re bold’ he exclaimed, surprised by her confidence. He picked up his phone and dialed a number.

‘Mr. Sylvester, I just found the lady that made me go through torment in the hands of the soldiers and we’re on our way to the A-Division to report ourselves’ He pushed the phone back into his trousers’ pocket.

‘Let’s see how you’ll escape’ Henry said boldly. He narrowed his gaze to the brief case as she hid it behind her again.

‘I know you have some exhibits there’

‘Henry!’ She called his name to his surprise. ‘Do you know it would cost me nothing to get you into trouble again?’ Henry stood dumbfounded at the sound of his name. Where in the world did she learn his name from? Had they really met somewhere before? He recalled that he had that feeling when he collided into her at the gadgets store.

‘How do you know my name?’ Henry asked, squinting at her.

‘Huh?’ Tarasha seemed surprised too. She had made a mistake of thinking he remembered her from their encounter at the Lagos Ibadan expressway.

‘How did you know my name?’ He repeated

‘Huh? I saw it there’ she pointed at a book placed by the window at the backside of the car. He turned back.

‘You saw my name on that book from here?’ He questioned in disbelief.

‘Yes, isn’t it bold enough?’ She asked. Luckily enough for her, Henry’s name was written behind the jersey he wore, so she changed her strategy.

‘It’s all over you, how do you expect me not to know?’

‘You are lying’

‘D–n! Of course I am lying. Can’t you think?’ She said in a provocative manner. ‘Henry is written boldly behind your shirt and even on the collar and you’re asking me where I got your name from’ Henry took a deep breath. He felt foolish as he recalled that his name was on his jersey but he still had some doubts in his heart.

‘Can I go now?’ Tarasha made to leave.

‘No, let me know your name at least’ he stopped. ‘I’m Henry, I work here at the cameras security operation’ he said in a more pleasant manner.

‘Oh!’ Tarasha sighed and smiled as he exposed himself. She might need him to get some things done in regards of camera security.

‘You?’ He demanded for her name.

‘I’m Evelyn’ she replied at last. ‘I’m a business woman’

‘Sounds nice’ he smiled for the first time. She smiled back.

‘So can I give you a lift to your location?’

‘No please, don’t bother’ she pleaded.

‘My car is parked just nearby’ ‘I could drive you where the car is parked’ he insisted.

‘That wouldn’t be necessary’ she smiled. ‘We could meet some other time’ she said and brought out her phone. He brought out his too, expecting that she was going to call out her number. She didn’t disappoint this time. He stored the number with the name Evelyn and walked her to where her car was parked.

**7.30pm **

‘When is your Dad coming to Nigeria?’ Dare asked Tarasha who sat opposite him, playing with the spoon around the plate.

‘He might come visiting when I have established something big’ Tarasha answered after munching the food particles in her mouth.

‘I see. Your family is a business minded one’ he said playfully.

‘Just like yours’ Tarasha remarked playfully.

‘Not everyone loves business in my family’ he frowned. ‘I personally don’t like business’

‘What do you mean?’ She asked with a chuckle.

‘I would have loved to be a lawyer’ he replied sadly. ‘But I had to tow this path because my father needed someone to take over his companies’ Tarasha remained silent and listened to him with keen interest. ‘He gathered a lot when he was in government and he invested so much’ Dare continued with a note of sadness. ‘At a time he was in charge of securing the whole nation. He says he got fought by a lot of lawyers and wouldn’t want me to become one of his enemies’ ‘If you want to be a top profile lawyer, you would have lots of enemies that’ll want to bring you down, so he says. He doesn’t want any of his children to fight like he did’

Tarasha extended her hand on the table and held his hands in a compassionate manner. He stared into her face, he could see she felt his sadness. She gave a him a look of reassurance, like she had been his friend for ages. He had been with so many girls but always, his only aim was to sleep with them. This one was different, he felt like he could pour his heart to her. ‘Tell me about your father?’ Tarasha pushed further, with the main aim of gathering more information about her target. ‘How did he gather so much money to invest with?’

He stared at her face once again without saying a word. She quickly added more soothing words to reassure him. She squeezed his palm in hers. ‘I mean he’s a success, that means he had a mind of an entrepreneur unlike so many other retired public officers who are living off their pensions and gains during service’ He smiled.

‘My Father had some businesses he was involved in before serving the country. He used his gains at that time to invest more for the future’

‘Hmm…’Tarasha nodded silently and relaxed back into her seat, unsatisfied by the response. Dare smiled and continued. ‘When would you love to meet my father?’

‘I already left that for you to fix’ she answered. ‘Since you said you were going to help me talk with him’

‘Sure, I will’ he reassured. ‘You’ll most likely meet with him next week’

‘Thanks’ she smiled.

‘So what about your boyfriend?’ He changed the topic.

‘Boyfriend?’ She seemed surprised.

‘Yes’

‘Well, I’ve got no time for a boyfriend right now. I want to establish my business first’

‘Huh?’ His eyes widened as he laugh. ‘You seem to just love business more than everything else’ She joined in the laughter.

‘Not really. I love my parents more, they mean the world to me’

‘Huh ho! Nice’ he smiled sheepishly. He placed his hand on his stomach as he suddenly began to feel uneasy. He covered his mouth with the other palm as he gave a silent belch. ‘Can you excuse me for a minute’ he said and got up from the seat.

‘Oh yea sure’ she permitted with a smile. She frowned and picked up her phone as he left. Her instinct told her something was happening as her network bar kept fluctuating, but she wasn’t sure of what it was.

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**9.30pm**

‘What? Data inaccessible?’ Henry exclaimed at the pop up message on the laptop screen. How can that be? Does that mean that Evelyn was using an unregistered sim? No, but it wasn’t possible to use a sim card without registering it first. So why couldn’t he access Evelyn’s registration details on the network bearer’s database? Or was it that the network bearer has made their database unhackable? He dropped the laptop on the bed and stood up to yawn and stretch himself. His eyes met the wall clock, to his surprise it was twenty minutes to five. He was planning to call Evelyn by nine pm. but he didn’t know when the time passed as he was carried away by the desire to find her full name and details.

He picked up the phone and dialed the number as he sat on the bed. The call was answered after it rang the third time.

‘Hello Evelyn’ he said pleasantly.

‘Hello’ a tiny voice replied.

‘How are you doing?’

‘Fine’

‘You remember me?’ He asked.

‘No, I’m actually expecting an introduction’ Henry smiled.

‘It’s Henry, we met earlier today’

‘I remember’ she replied calmly, with less enthusiasm.

‘Yeah, so how’s your night going?’

‘Great, yours?’ She managed to reply.

‘Awesome’

‘Alright’

‘So when would we see again?’

‘I don’t have an answer to that question now’ she answered softly.

‘Can we meet for lunch tomorrow?’ He offered.

‘I’m not sure I’ll be free’ she replied nonchalantly.

‘Not sure? Tomorrow’s Saturday’ he said.

‘Yes, I know. I also have things to do on weekends’

‘Would you be busy all through the day? Maybe we can meet by evening time’

‘You know what? I’ll call you if I’m less busy’ she said and ended the call immediately. Henry dropped the phone slowly. He wondered why she was acting so hard. His mind suddenly returned to the mystery surrounding her phone number registration details. He quickly checked the true caller application on his phone if it had recognized the number but the app did not show records of the call. That got him more suspicious. He bit his lips as he remembered that he could have traced the call and gotten more information, including her location. He thought of calling back and tracing it but suspended it for another day. He cleared his throat as he got up from the bed to pull his shirt.

Why was he even getting unnecessarily suspicious about an innocent looking girl anyway, he thought. Maybe the sim registration just had some errors from the network bearer’s database. He had earlier decided and even included in his new year resolutions to stop intruding into people’s personal life through his knowledge of hacking. He didn’t know how he found himself doing it again when he was aware that it was a crime and was wrong morally.

He was about to hang his shirt in the wardrobe when his mind changed again. He saw the jersey he wore earlier that evening. His name on the collar was printed in very small characters and that made another question arise in his mind. How was Evelyn able to read it from the distance she was standing? He also did not remember turning his back to her, so she couldn’t have seen the name there. She must have known him from somewhere else, he thought, remembering the feeling he had when he met her at the gadgeta store.

She also could have lied about her name. He must find her real name. He was going to hack illegally once more and get her real details and location. Just once more!

………..

‘Good morning Dad’ Dare voice sounded lively as Chief Jubril answered the call.

‘Good morning son’ the man replied. ‘How is everything?’

‘Fine Dad’ Dare replied and then went straight to his reason for calling. ‘I have one of my friends who would like to do business with you’

‘Your friend?’ The man seemed surprised.

‘Yes, my friend’ Dare answered. He seemed surprised too that he called her his friend. It was not up to one week that they had met and he already developed trust and friendship for her. What endeared him to her more was the listening ears that she gave to him. She was not like the other girls that he met who were only interested in developing a relationship with him because of his money. He too had always played along with them and used them only for s-x and dump them after a while without releasing so much money like they expect him to. That has made several girls label him a tightfisted person.

‘Your friend? Are you sure?’ The man asked again.

‘Come on dad’ he urged. ‘Why are you talking to me like I’m a kid?’

‘No Dare, don’t get it wrong’ the man pleaded. ‘You hardly keep friends who are into business or investments, so I’m just surprised’

‘I just met this wonderful Lady Dad’ he continued with excitement. ‘She seems industrious and business minded’

‘You just met her?’ He replied with a note of suspicion.

‘Yes Dad’ Dare answered. ‘She’s a Nigerian but grew up in Canada with her parents. Her parents own large companies in Ontario Canada’

‘Hmm… Dare’ the father sighed. ‘You can’t just trust someone you just met’ Dare was silent for a moment. His father’s words left an impact on him, the loudness of his voice reduced.

‘I think she’s sincere’

‘You think? You should not make conclusions based on assumption, she might likely be a fraudster’ he fired. Dare remained silent. ‘What’s her full name?’ The Chief asked.

‘Evelyn Alex’ Dare answered. ‘Her Dad’s name?’

‘Alexander Amaechi’

‘Okay’ the man jotted down the names. ‘Tell her to come see me on Monday’

‘Okay Dad, have a pleasant day’

‘You too’ Chief Jubril replied and hung up. He shook his head as he placed the phone on the seat. His son just disappointed him, he didn’t expect that Dare would not be reasonable enough to be careful with a recent acquaintance. He picked up the jotter where he wrote down the names. He was sure going to deal with the Lady if he finds out that she is a fraudster, he swore.

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