Henry still sat on his seat, lost in his own thoughts. He wondered why Tarasha had brought him to the party to abandon him and follow another guy, deceiving him that they went on exhibition. But… The kiss earlier that day. Was it fake? No, he felt it was real. He had never felt more real in his life. He inhaled deeply as he poured some wine into the cup. He gulped it down immediately and began to stare into the empty cup, making faces as if someone was speaking to him from the cup. He shook his head vigorously. Was the wine already having effect on him. No, it couldn’t be. He had not taken too much yet.
He rested his hand on the table and rested his chin on his palm, thinking of what to do. After some seconds of hesitation, he finally got up and stretched his cloth, about to head for the exhibition to see if Evelyn was really there. His eyes met someone walking towards his direction and discussing with another man as he turned back and left his chair. He quickly ran back to his chair and sat. He tried to cover a part of his face with one palm. The man came closer and sat at the table just behind Henry with his discussant. Henry could not stand up for the fear of being recognised.
Benny folded his arms and glued his gaze to the stage. He was the only one standing without a partner or a group of friends at the back. The security man following him had left and was nowhere to be found. Benny did not try to find out who he was, he remained calm but alert, ready to handle any situation that may require urgency. A familiar scent drew closer to him, he couldn’t place where he knew the scent from. He looked around to see but found no one and nothing familiar. He returned his gaze to the party stage. Benny could feel someone standing by his side but he didn’t care to look, he already saw the tray the person was holding and he was sure that it was one of the drinks servers.
‘Hello sir, you care for champagne?’ A familiar voice asked.
‘No, thanks’ Benny took a quick glance at her before rejecting her offer. He paused. He dropped his folded arms and her question played back in his mind. The voice. He turned back to her. Benny opened his mouth wide in shock on seeing. She was frowning at him.
‘Aisha! ‘He exclaimed. ‘I think that there’s now need for a law banning makeups in the country. I didn’t almost recognize you anymore’
‘Shhh…’ Aisha hushed him. ‘You shouldn’t still recognize me. I just came to serve you drinks’ Benny nodded in understanding. He took a glass cup and took the champagne bottle to pour some of the contents.
‘So what are you doing here?’
‘Wrong question’ Aisha replied him, watching as Benny took a sip.
‘You should ask me why I’ve come to you’ she said as she brought out a paper. She pushed in the paper into Benny’s hand after making sure that no one was watching them.
‘Boss says you should kill the man if she doesn’t give any other instruction in thirty minutes ‘
‘D–n!’ He almost spilled the drink on his body. ‘How does she want me to do that? How would I get to the front where he’s seated, kill him and get away with all those bodyguards around there?’ He dropped back the cup on the tray.
‘Here’ Aisha dipped her hand into her pocket and handed out a nylon to Benny. Benny eyes shone as he opened the nylon slightly. There was also a nose mask in it.
‘A grenade? We gonna bomb the whole place?’
‘No, check well. It’s not a bomb’
‘Where did you get it from?’ Benny asked, after confirming that it was different.
‘Boss prepared it yesterday by herself and gave it to me when we met. All instructions on how to use it are in the paper I gave you’ Benny took out the paper and opened to read.
‘You shouldn’t do that here’ Aisha cautioned him. He quickly returned it into his pocket.
‘There’s a bag in the male toilet , labeled B, it has a gun inside and a extra cloth for the boss. Make sure you get the cloth to her immediately after everything is done’ Aisha walked away immediately without looking back. Benny took a deep breath. He checked round to see if anyone was watching.
Dare led Evelyn silently up the stairs. They got to a section with a corridor of about forty metres long. Tarasha could sight four doors each on both sides as she got to the landing. Two uniformed security men stood in the corridor, each carrying long guns and having a short gun each by the left side. The first stood in between the first and second rooms while the second stood in between the third and fourth. Before the entrance of the corridor was a tag on the lintel. “Out of bounds to non security cameras officials”
The men turned to face Tarasha and Dare as they approached. On seeing Dare, they remained calm. Dare and the first security man greeted each other with a nod while Tarasha smiled at the man. As they walked past the man, his phone rang. Tarasha began to reduce her walking speed gradually, forcing Dare to also reduce his. He paused and stared at her for an explanation.
‘Where are we going to?’ Tarasha asked him.
‘Come on’ he tried to fake a smile. ‘We’ll use one of the rooms here’
‘But these rooms are not bedrooms’ she argued. At this time, they were standing in between the doors of the second rooms. She glanced at the room by the right. It was jammed with a padlock, and with the other doors that had passed.
‘We are going to the third one’ Dare said, pointing to the third door by the right. Tarasha stared at the door. “Control Unit.” She turned her gaze to the third left door. ‘Come on, move’ Dare spoke harshly before she tried arguing with him again. His face was filled with wrath.
‘You think I’m a fool?’ He stretched forth his hands to grab her by the shoulder but she held his hand and twisted it. Dare screamed in pain, his arms had been left useless. The security man had finished with his call and was walking towards Tarasha and Dare. Tarasha added a blow to his forehead sending him sprawling on the floor. The security man pointed his gun at her.
‘I’ll blow off your head if you move’ he warned She raised up her two hands as if to surrender and was stepping back slowly as the man moved closer. ‘Stop’ he commanded and she did. She could hear the footsteps of the security man at her back approaching.
‘Put your hands behind you’ the second security man said detaching a handcuff from his belt. He got closer and held her hand to fix the handcuff. Tarasha sent a heavy back-kick to his g—n and dipped her left hand into his side to remove the pistol. She sent a bullet into the first security man’s chest before he could c–k his gun and concluded with the second with the butt of the gun on his head.
‘Bravo! Bravo!’ Afo and Blade clapped their hands, approaching from the main entrance of the corridor where she and Dare passed through. ‘Who are you young lady?’ Afo asked mockingly.
‘I’m your nightmare’ she answered. She stood opened her purse which she had attached through the handle to her hand and took out something like a scissors.
‘Ha ha ha’ Afo laughed in reply. He stopped and began to sound serious again. ‘We’ve been watching you all through and we know what you’ve got in that purse. Who are you and what do you really want?’
‘I don’t have time to chat’ Tarasha answered. ‘I don’t have any business with both of you. I’ve forgiven you for kidnapping me’ she smiled. ‘I only want to do something in your security cameras room’
‘Oh dear! You only want to do something in our security cameras room’ Afo mimicked, he and Blade walking slowly towards her. Both of them paused to look at Dare who was still wincing in pain on the floor. They ignored him and continued.
‘Why do you think its called security? You think anyone can just enter and do something?’
‘I don’t want to do it with force’ she said. Afo smiled.
‘But we can’t help you with that. We don’t have access to the place also’
‘You do’ Tarasha pointed at Blade. ‘He was in the security cameras office few minutes ago’
‘Me?’ Blade stared at her mockingly. He stopped walking and Afo stopped after him and took out his gun. They were standing both few centimeters to her.
‘I placed a tracker on you when you came with Dare to the restroom’ she smiled back mockingly. Blade began to check his clothes for the tracker, Afo too was distracted and began to search Blade’s body with his eyes. In a split second, Tarasha cut down her gown from the chest with the scissors she had taken out. She removed it from her body and threw it at them covering their faces. She sprayed the duo with bullets from the gun she collected from the security man. Blade went down immediately while the mighty Afo still struggled to stand. He took the cloth off his face and tried to raise his gun up. Tarasha finished him off with a bullet into his forehead.
‘That easy’ Tarasha smiled and murmured to herself as she turned back. She had striped herself to an inner singlet, and a bum short. She emptied some of the contents of her purse into the pockets of the shorts. She turned back again on hearing a sound. Dare was still on the floor. She hissed and sent a bullet to his head. She headed for the third room which had the “Control Unit” tag. Ready for the last phase, all she needed was to erase from the database all the cameras had captured that day and also deactivate for some hours to allow them complete the task without recording.
She touched the door knob, it was opened. She didn’t know someone was in, waiting and prepared for her.
Henry hurriedly gulped down another cup of wine in frustration. He was already getting worked up and was wishing that he never came to the party. The person who brought him to the party had left him to sit alone for almost two hours without returning. His plan to go check on her was obstructed by someone that he wasn’t expecting who just emerged from nowhere, the client who had given him the job of tracking the Canadian number. He never thought that the client could also be an invitee at this party, he had called him earlier to give an excuse that he was sick and needed to rest, so he wouldn’t be able to finish the job till the next day. So how would he explain that his sickness could allow him to party but not to complete a job he had already received money from.
Henry bit his lips and shook his head in regret as he heard a roaring laughter from the man discussing with his client at the table behind him. The discussants rose up from their seats. They kept on talking as they moved closer to Henry’s seat. Henry turned his face to the opposite direction and covered it with his hand.
‘For you, it’s easy na’ Henry heard the second man say to his client. ‘You’re Chief Jubril’s PA’
‘It’s not that easy, people just…’ His client was saying as they moved out of earshot. Henry’s eyes widened in surprise as he digested the information he overheard. His client was Jubril’s PA? his mind flashed back to the day the job was brought. He remembered clearly the man saying that they had received a call from a business partner with the Canadian number but they were doubting if it was real or not. Evelyn was striking a business deal with Jubril tonight and she is from Canada. Could she be the same person whose number was being investigated? He thought.
His mind made another flashback. The look on Evelyn’s face when he was typing in the number from his notepad. He had ignored that look as nothing before, since there was no reason for suspicion but now everything began to make sense to him. After she saw the number was when she changed and started talking to him about going with her to the party. He remembered how she had also began to rub her hands against his chest at that moment she was trying to convince him. Could Evelyn be a criminal? Could she be a fraudster? Henry poured in some wine into the cup and gulped it down immediately. He pushed away the plate of which he had been served.
His mind returned to how he met Evelyn, how she had gotten him into trouble the first day. He also remembered the day he met her and she was hiding a briefcase. He remembered the lie she told him about the place she stayed, he had only gotten to know that she was in a hotel after he tracked down the phone number she had given him.
The kidnap. How she untied the ropes. How they eventually escaped. The story Tarasha had said about the passers-by was now sounding ridiculous to him. How she changed the story during the police interrogation was even more ridiculous. Henry was now positive that he was allowed to escape because he had contacted Sylvester and the culprits were well aware that the police were coming.
He buried his face his palms. Dare must have planned all these with her. He was sure of Dare’s ability to connive with an outsider to dupe his Dad. He looked towards the table where Dare and his Dad were previously seated. Only the Dad and two ladies remained on the seat. Dare and Evelyn must have gone to have a meeting. They must be planning to even end his life now that had been further rubbed in by being the one investigating the Canadian number. He scrubbed his face with his palms and clenched his fists. He had being fooled, used by a criminal.
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He stood up staggering, trying to search for Mr Jubril’s PA who just left the area. His phone made several beeps. He brought it out to check. The camera detector app on his phone was detecting some bugs.
Benny returned to the restroom again, this time making sure that no one was following him. He locked himself in a toilet compartment and sat on the WC, taking out the paper to read. The substance given to him contained a dangerous mixture of gases which includes Chlorobenzalmalononitrile and other lachrymatory gases that would turn weak everyone that inhaled it within seconds through a peppery sensation in their bodies and eyes. The nose mask was for him to protect himself while the gas was having its effect on the other people. After killing the Chief, he was to go out through the backdrop which led to the stairs of the security department where Tarasha was and handover the extra cloth to her after which they’ll find a way to leave the venue together.
Five minutes more for the thirty minutes deadline. He got up and walked out to pick the nylon bag which contained the cloth. Two other men walked into the restroom as he walked out to carry out the most crucial part of the assignment.
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The door made a creaking sound as she entered into the room. The room was dark except for the reflection from the screens of the desktops. Tarasha could sight no one in, so she went straight to the computer which she assumed to be the master computer and sat behind it. It was passworded, so she brought out a flash from her pocket and inserted it into the USB port. The software on the flash drive opened up immediately and she began to punch in commands with the use of the keyboard. Soon, she was able to access the files in the computer. She paused and turned to look around, having a feeling that she wasn’t alone in the room. She didn’t see anyone so she turned back to the computer to hurry up her work. Her target time to use in the cameras security room was five minutes and she had used three minutes already. She had to hurry up and hide before other security officials start find the dead bodies on the corridor.
She felt another movement around and got up while a certain command was loading. She looked around again as she walked towards the window. She rolled up the blinds and opened the glass. She could hear the soft music playing from the hall. She closed back the window and took off her Bluetooth earphone. She punched in some commands on it and made a speed dial before returning it to her ear.
‘Cole… Nixus Fortrem, 8453. Stop the whole system from working and then redirect to you. Make sure you handle the street cameras too’ she said briefly and ended the call. She had given Cole the code to direct the footages from the cameras captured from that moment to his device. She then returned to the computer set. All the data recorded in the last two hours had been successfully extracted into her flash drive and deleted from the main computer. She ejected the drive and closed all applications on the system. She returned it back to the start page and the turned to leave.
Audu came out from behind a shelf and stood by the door with a mean face, clapping his palms together continuously with a pistol in his hands. He took a sharp turn back and jammed the door.
‘Who are you?’ Audu asked softly but with so much sternness as he started walking forward in slow motion.
‘Let me go and your life would be preserved’ Tarasha warned with a smile, after some seconds of silence.
‘You can’t go anywhere, other security officials would be here in the next five minutes. They heard the gunshots and they’re alert already’ Tarasha chuckled.
‘The last time I checked, the walls here are soundproofed’ Audu raised a brow.
‘Oh! Intelligent’ he exclaimed. ‘That’s what gave you the confidence right? Well, for your information, we aren’t the real guys in charge of security here. Dare only got them out of here by a false alarm and they are on their …’
‘I don’t have time for silly talks’ Tarasha slammed and began walking closer to him without fear. Audu raised up his gun and pointed it at her. She paused. ‘One last chance, don’t try to stop me and your life would be preserved’
The beeps continued on Henry’s phone. He rested his palm on the chair handle shakily and opened the app. All the cameras in the hall had been stopped from working. That was strange. Such things don’t happen until after events. He returned his phone into his pocket and turned to leave. It beeped again, continuously. He brought it out from his pocket with a loud hiss. The cameras were up again. An error in transmission, he thought. Suddenly, loud screams and shouts erupted from the back of the hall. A very small ball was rolling from the back to the front and emitting a strange coloured smoke. The screams became louder. Shouts of ‘Bomb!!!’ filled the air.
People began to scamper around but they couldn’t go far as they dropped few seconds after inhaling the smoke. Only a few people who were close to the exit made it out before inhaling enough quantity that could take them out. Henry struggled to remain standing but his strength failed him. He fell on one knee shaking the table violently in the process. The bag which Tarasha left on the chair fell to Henry’s side on the ground, it was partly opened.
Henry dipped his hand into it to pick out the nose mask he saw. Before he could cover his nose with the mask, the gas had already taken so much effect on him but he was still able to move his head though his vision was blur. He turned his face to the other side, every other person in the hall was down too. Some had fainted while some were bleeding from the nose but a bulk of them just had their eyes shining brightly without even seeing anything as they laid helpless on the floor. Someone was marching forward. Henry saw the shoe, he raised up his head, the man was also putting on thick dark gloves and a black bag was strapped to his back. He tried to look at the person’s face but the mask worn made it difficult for him to see the face. But that black suit. Henry had seen it before, on that same day.
The masked man walked straight to where Jubril and his wife was laying down helplessly. Even the bodyguards that were supposed to protect them had fallen to the ground and were just staring helplessly.
Benny got to Jubril in no time and dragged him up by the collar. There was no time to waste, he was sure that the security officials were already coming to the hall with a solution. He took out a short knife from his pocket and slid it deeply into the man’s throat. Blood gushed out speedily. Benny did this making sure that the fluid did not spill on any other part of his body except his hand which was protected by the glove. He made sure that the windpipe was separated into two before dropping the body.
He rushed through the backdrop exit as instructed by Tarasha in the message and pulled off his suit jacket and beards to remove the disguise. He continued to follow the directions given to him for escape. He got to the floor landing of the stairs where Tarasha was supposed to wait for him but she wasn’t there yet. His body began to itch. He could hear noises from the hall of policemen who had gone in with their own masks. He hid below the stairs as he took off his Bluetooth earphone and tried to connect to Tarasha. She wasn’t answering. He tried Cole. …
To be continued