‘I don’t have a choice, I was hired to stop and stop you I will’ Audu barked back as Tarasha stood staring at him. ‘I don’t give in to threats by ladies’
‘Then, can we see what you can do without the gun’ Tarasha challenged, motioning him to put down his gun. He smiled in response and began to unload the gun, taking up the challenge.
‘Don’t try to play fast with me’ he warned as he showed her the empty gun and dropped the pistol on the floor. He adjusted his trouser belt and positioned himself for a fist battle. Soon, they were close to each other bouncing around in the little space left in the aisle between the computer systems.
Tarasha threw the first punch which Audu dodged effortlessly. He returned it with a blow to her side leaving her shaken a bit. She chuckled, straightened up and continued. He threw a punch to her face but she dodged. He send a left punch to her belly, she blocked with her right hand. A right one, she blocked again with her left hand. This exposed his chest and belly for attack and she quickly grabbed the opportunity and made a heavy stamp of the soles of her foot on his chest. He staggered backwards and winced in pain, placing a hand on his chest. He didn’t expect such heaviness in her kick, it felt like he had developed an heart attack. He cracked his knuckles and rotated his neck before moving forward to her again. This time after making some mock gestures with his fists, he directed a kick with his left leg to her neck but she bent her head and took off his other leg from the ground with a kick from her left foot. He landed on the floor thunderously. His leg pulled a wire from a computer set mistakenly and the whole computer desktop was pulled and dropped on his legs. Tarasha sniffled as she brought out her gun.
‘I’ve got no time for more games, you ain’t got the balls’
‘But you said…’ He was saying when she fired a bullet into his chest.
‘Go meet the boss’ Cole said to Benny, watching Benny’s position on his device through the redirection which Tarasha had done on the system. ‘I think she needs your help right now’
‘Give me directions, is she upstairs?’ Benny asked, staring straight into a camera being sure that Cole was watcing him.
‘Yes, upstairs’ the reply came. ‘Just keep moving, I’ll tell you where to enter’ Cole minimized the clip to the DVD homepage and searched for clip which had Tarasha captured.
‘Cole’ Benny’s voice sounded again. He already got to the entrance security department corridor without any word from Cole.
‘Calm down, I’m trying to find where she is again’ Cole answered. He selected an option and saw Benny walking slowly and glancing at the dead bodies. ‘Hey, go into the third room by the left’ Cole saw Benny pause to listen and then continued walking straight. Tarasha came out of the room before he got to the third door. She was still in her underwear, little drops of sweat fell from her body.
‘Here Boss’ Cole could hear Benny say as he handed over the extra gown to Tarasha. He saw Tarasha’s mouth moving but he couldn’t make out what she said.
‘Oh s–t!’ Cole cursed as he minimized to check the way for them. Four security officials were at the end of the stairs, three men and a woman.
‘What’s the matter?’ Benny asked on hearing the curse. Tarasha walked where her ripped gown was, beside Afo and Blade’s dead body and picked it up. She dipped it into the nylon after bringing out the new one which she hung around her neck.
‘You guys have more problems to handle. More officials are climbing up the stairs’
‘D–n!’ Benny cursed too. Cole could see Tarasha turn to ask Benny what the problem was. — Tarasha tapped the device in her ear on, she waited some seconds for it to connect.
‘How many of them are down stairs?’ She asked Cole.
‘Four and it looks like they are calling for more people’ Cole said, Tarasha could hear him taking a deep breath. ‘They are coming upstairs already’ Cole added.
The cold dilution gas condensed on Henry’s forehead as the security officers sprayed. Henry could breath normally now, he took off the mask and picked his phone which had dropped on the floor. He stood and followed the direction which the security officers were giving. A lot of the victims were just recovering and were being helped by the officers to stand up. Henry was not really given much attention because he was able to stand by himself already. He only received a hand gesture from an officer for him to go out of the hall immediately.
‘He took that direction’ Henry could see a junior police officer pointing at the stage exit where the killer took, explaining something to his senior. He recognised the senior officer as the one who interrogated him and Evelyn two days ago. The officers joined with another group of officers and hurried towards the direction the murderer took. Henry paused and turned back. His mind was not at peace because he had not seen Evelyn. Even though he was suspecting her to be a fraudster, deep inside, he still cared for her safety.
‘Keep moving please, everyone out of the hall immediately’ a voice shouted at his back. Henry had no other choice than to keep moving, a crowd of staggering fellows who were being supported to walk was surging towards him from the back. He hurried out of the hall. Several people were rushing out of the main compound and police officers were scattered everywhere looking for the person with the description of the killer they had gotten.
Tarasha and Benny quickly positioned themselves for the coming enemies Tarasha searched Afo and Blade’s body and took out their pistols. She ran to hide behind the wall by the entrance, squatting below the fire extinguisher while Benny hid behind the curtain hung on one of the doors, holding with him the gun Tarasha gave him.
‘Oo!’ The first official that got to the landing, in front of the corridor exclaimed on seeing the dead bodies. Two rushed into the corridor without noticing Tarasha behind the wall and she remained quiet and watched while the men scrutinised the dead bodies in awe. The other security man and the lady joined in the same manner except that the new man and woman were more careful. They cocked their guns immediately they saw the bodies and walked into the corridor, glancing around for signs of the killer
The group of five policemen led by inspector Ken paused as they got behind the backdrop. One of the officers bent down to pick the black suit jacket on the floor, he dusted it to see if anything would drop from it. Nothing did.
‘The killer dropped his suit?’ Ken stared in disbelief. The officers all surrounded and checked the suit together.
‘Then he must have joined the crowd already’ an officer added. Ken paused and stared briefly at the ground. He squatted and used his pistol to pull a piece of hair closer to himself.
‘Did they say the killer had beards?’ Ken raised up his head to ask.
‘Yes’ an officer replied him briefly. ‘That was just a disguise, here’s the fake beard’ Ken stood up. Another officer putting on a hand glove bent to pick the hair. A man putting on a the events centre security uniform opened the backdrop and joined them.
‘Have you seen anything officers?’ They showed him the jacket and the beard.
‘The killer escape through this place’
‘He couldn’t have passed through here without meeting our men on the way’
‘But you wouldn’t have known, he changed his disguise’ Ken said.
‘Guests are not allowed to pass through here, our security men would have stopped him’ the man said and began to lead the way. The officers followed carefully searching around the dark walls to see if anything or anyone was hidden.
The security woman was the first to see Tarasha, but a bullet was fixed into her skull before she could do anything. The man with the cocked gun turned immediately to shoot but Tarasha was faster, a bullet into his belly brought him down. The other two officials were taken with one bullet each from Benny from their back.
‘If guests are not allowed to pass through this place and your men have not caught anyone yet. Does that mean it was done by an insider? One of your men?’ Ken accused.
‘NO’ the man turned back suddenly to refute strongly. It could be one of the external cooks and attendants that were… ‘ he was cut short by the sound of a gunshot. It sounded like somewhere far away.
The policemen were alert at once. One of them ran to peep through the backdoor and check if it was from the hall but it wasn’t. More gunshots sounds followed.
‘Where could that be coming from?’ Ken asked widening his eyes.
‘It could only be from two places. Outside the hall or in the security department block’
‘Is the way clear now?’ Tarasha pressed the Bluetooth device against her ear as she spoke to Benny.
‘No, six more officers are on the way’ Cole replied her in a shaky voice. Tarasha’s brain began to work fast, she started considering their chances of leaving that place without being caught and the options they had. Engaging the six new policemen in fight would be a waste of time because that would only create more time for more security officials to come. She then remembered Audu, she didn’t see him return to the security department by the stairs, he just disappeared mysteriously at her back in the computer room. That means that he had returned through another route, perhaps a secret escape. She walked to the female security official’s body laying lifeless on the floor and examined it. In few seconds, she began to pull off the uniform on the body. Benny stared for some seconds before he understood what was happening. He joined her and selected a dead security man whose body was almost same size and height as his.
‘They’re on their way up’ Cole’s voice sounded in both Tarasha and Benny’s ears. Tarasha took a quick glance at Benny and gave him a signal. She had already taken off the lady’s top and was halfway with the trousers. Tarasha got up hanging the uniform’s top on get neck. She dragged the lifeless body with her and entered into the camera’s security room again where she fought with Audu. Benny followed her immediately and they locked the door behind them. In few seconds, Tarasha was already changing into the security uniform. She still had the new gown around her neck and the old one in a nylon with her.
‘Hurry’ Cole voice came through again. Tarasha could hear sounds coming from outside the room, the security officials were already there. She quickly began to put on the trousers while Benny was still struggling with the shirt. The sleeve of the top was longer than Tarasha’s hand but she rolled it neatly after putting on the trousers which was slightly oversized.
A violent knock sounded on the door. Benny was putting on his trousers already. Tarasha began to look around the room, she remembered that Audu had come out from behind a shelf. She walked towards the shelf to examine it. The officers outside began to attempt opening the door with force.
**Outside the door**
Ken stood alert with his gun raised above his shoulders as a junior officer tried to open the door with kicks. ‘That’s a waste of time, the door is well secured’ the security man said to the police officers. He got up from his knees where he was scrutinising the dead bodies of his colleagues and proceeded towards the door. He touched the knob and tried to open it but it was stiff. He shifted back and aimed at the knob with his gun. Three shots and the door gave way
Henry began to search for the car in the park. He couldn’t remember the exact spot it was parked, so he attempted asking the security officials but they were too busy looking out for the criminal and trying to control the crowd’s rush to answer him. The only option left for him was to leave the venue without a car like so many people were doing but he couldn’t stop worrying about Evelyn. He couldn’t leave without her, at least he had to see her driver first to know if the driver had any information about her whereabouts.
He removed his phone and dialed Evelyn’s phone number again. It was busy. That was the reply he had been getting for several times he had tried.
‘Get away, you fool!’ Someone who was rushing out cursed loudly as his phone dropped on collision with Henry, he didn’t bother to stop and pick it up. That’s when he suddenly remembered something, he had a smaller phone which he dropped in the car, he could track the number to know where the car was.
‘Please, you have to exit the venue right now’ an official accosted him.
‘I’m sorry, I can’t leave, my girlfriend is still here’ Henry replied, feeling surprised with himself that he had called Evelyn bus girlfriend.
‘Just go out, she may be outside waiting for you’ the man said and began to push him forward, threatening him with a rod in his hand.
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**Port Harcourt, Rivers State **
Dakolo drove his CRV Jeep into his compound after several days of absence. He was too fatigued to even respond to the gate man’s welcome greeting. He turned off the engine and released his seat belt. He took another deep breath before opening the door. His kids and wife were already rushing out of the house to welcome him. He quickly to turned to the back seat and picked up a nylon bag. He didn’t forget to buy biscuits for his kids this time and a gift for his wife despite his tiredness.
‘Hey Young man’ his little boy ran into his legs as he stepped out of the car. He picked the boy up gave him a peck before taking out his brief case from the car. His second and third boys hugged him one after the other and took the brief case and nylon bag from their father. Dakolo dropped the little boy and left him to run back into the house with his elder brothers. He was left outside alone with his wife. The smile on her face made him smile too, he had missed her so much. Just too weeks in Lagos and it looked like they had been away from each other for years. They engaged each other in a deep embrace and afterwards a long kiss before saying anything to themselves.
‘I’ve missed you so much’ she said after they broke away from the kiss.
‘I missed you too’ he replied and held her hand, they began to walk into the house slowly. She rested her arm on his shoulder. He knew what she was asking for and immediately lifted her up into his arms and carried her all the way to the living room. He dropped her on his laps as he sat on the three seater sofa beside his briefcase. The maid, Lydia greeted before taking the kids into their room. The couple engaged each other in another long kiss before speaking again.
‘So, how was your trip’ Angela finally asked, looking into her husband’s eyes.
‘Great’ Dakolo replied, avoiding her eyes.
‘How did it go?’ Angela got up from his laps and sat beside him. The maid returned with a glass of water for Dakolo.
‘Still on the matter… No lead suspect or new discoveries yet. Samantha Osman seems to have no one related to her in this country. No blood relation, no friends, no acquittances’ he replied before taking the glass of water from the stool. He gulped it down immediately.
‘That’s serious o’ Angela hissed. ‘So you guys did not make any progress?’ She asked another question, starting intently into her husband’s eyes. He still avoided her gaze for some reasons, he had some news to give her which she might not like.
‘Not really, the criminal is a d–n professional’ he replied, biting his lips after.
‘Shhh…’ Angela hushed him, glancing around the sitting room. ‘You shouldn’t use such words around, the kids might pick them up’ Dakolo gave a short hiss.
‘Yeah, sorry about that, it’s just frustrating’ he said and bent down to start taking off his shoes.
‘Well, we’ll talk more later’ the wife said, getting up from the seat. ‘Let me make sure your food is served first and prepare your water for bath’ she began to walk away.
‘Angela’ Dakolo called softly. She turned back and stared at him without saying any word in reply. He had just taken off the shoe from his left leg and he stopped. ‘Come sit down’ he said, motioning her to return to the space beside him.
‘Yes’ she said as she sat beside him. He turned to face her and held her two hands, both staring into each other’s eyes.
‘I…’ Dakolo tried to begin but was short of words. He turned back to his briefcase and opened it. He took out a folded A4 paper from it and gave to her. It was a letter, a letter of transfer to Abuja. She kept glancing at his face occasionally as she read it. The transfer wasn’t really the problem, the problem was that they won’t be able to stay with each other for the next five months. How? They would have moved together but for the kids who were still in the second term of the school session. The education system in the country no longer allowed for admission if new pupils into schools after the first term, it only allowed for admission at the beginning of a new session. That means Angela had to wait with the kids for five months until the session ends. They had never stayed that long apart from each other.
Chief Gab sat quietly in his living room, his back well rested on the couch’s back pillow and his legs on a short stool as he busied himself reading articles about politics from pobsonline site on his tablet device. It had been about two weeks since Tarasha and her crew had left for Abuja to execute his work and he had only heard from her once. She only called him to request for money to buy some necessary things, she didn’t even update him on the progress of the job. But he was sure she would do the execution perfectly so he didn’t bother much about it.
‘Happy birthday to Chief Jubril Lawal’ he mumbled to himself as returned to the front-page of the pobsonline site, the thread topic was at the seventh position. He hissed and was about to close the browser tab but out of boredom, he scrolled up to see if he had read all political topics on the main page.
‘Pictures from Jubril Lawal’s ongoing birthday party’ he read the topic on the second position and hissed. Why was his enemy’s news making the headlines today? He hissed. He promised himself again not to read any news that talks about Jubril or any of his enemies. He scrolled further and saw the time on displayed on the site, he realized that It was over an hour ago since he loaded the front-page. He clicked on the refresh button to check for newer updates on the site. It reloaded, the first thing his eyes met surprised him. He wiped his face with his hands and checked again.
‘Jubril Lawal Dead – Unconfirmed’ was the new headline on the front-page. Gab quickly clicked on the link to read the news. There was nothing long to read but there was a screenshot to back up the claim.
“The minister of information just tweeted this now, we hope he’s not talking about Chief Jubril” the details read and the screenshot displayed under it. It was a tweet from the minister of information who was also a guest at the birthday party. It read,
“Something drastic needs to be done about these recent assassinations in our country, how can a former minister of defence be murdered confidently with all the security officials present?” The source beneath the post was a link to Linda Ikeji’s blog. His phone began to ring as he started scrolling down to read comments. He stood to pick it from the centre table where it was and returned to his seat before answering the call.
‘Chief Gab’ Chief Nonso’s voice rang in happily like someone who had just been awarded a trillion dollar contract.
‘Yes, Chief Nonso. Good evening, I hope you didn’t forget anything in my house?’ Chief Gab replied.
‘Noo, not that’ Chief Nonso continued, ‘haven’t you heard the breaking news?’
‘What breaking news?’ Gab feigned ignorance.
‘Jubril Lawal was killed today during his birthday party by an unknown assassin’
‘Oh! Unknown assassin? During his party? Has he been confirmed dead?’ Gab expressed his doubts.
‘Yes, the news was sent via text message through my subscription to Linda Ikeji’s blog and I just confirmed from someone who stays around the event centre where the party took place’ Chief Nonso answered.
‘Well, if it’s true, then it’s good news for us. We need to celebrate’ Chief Gab excitedly.
‘Yes, good news. I’m sure it would be all over the news by tomorrow. Let’s just wait and see’
‘Yes, sure. Thank you Chief Nonso’ Chief Gab said and ended the call. He glanced at the phone’s screen, he had four unread notifications. He swiped down to check. There was a message from Tarasha sent three hours ago.
‘Job would be completed tonight, prepare the extra allowance for my employees’ he smiled as he read to himself. He closed the messages and opened the dialpad to quickly dial her number but it wasn’t connecting, same way it had been since she left for the operation, he had never been able to reach her, she only reached him when she wanted. All the same, he felt joy in his heart and he returned quietly to his former resting position. …
to be continued