The officers moved in one after the other carefully, welcomed into the cameras control room by three different dead bodies. Two half unclad ones and a fully clothed one. One of them bent to examine the bodies while the others spread around the room with their guns raised high in readiness for any attack. Ken carefully examined the lady’s body, there was a bullet hole in her forehead. She must have been shot by a professional because the hole was drilled right in the middle of the forehead and she had no other wound in any part of her body. It wasn’t a close distance shot, he noticed as he observed the head with his gloved hands. He stared at the rest of the body, it was only clad in underwear, someone must have taken off the clothes. The male dead body beside her too was only clad in briefs, only the third, which was a man’s body was fully clothed.
‘These are our staffs, they work in this department’ the security man pointing to the two half unclad bodies knelt beside Ken to explain. ‘The other man is an external official’
‘But I think I heard some noises here before we came in’ Ken said, getting up to look around.
‘I heard it too, it sounded like there were some movements’ the security man joined, getting up too. The other four men paused to listen, all standing alert with their guns. Ken continued to pace around checking behind and under each computer system.
‘There is a secret exit in this room, only the senior security staffs and those who work here knows the place’ The security man said as he picked a book from the shelf. He opened it and flipped. ‘It should be here in the navigation map’ Ken joined him as they checked through the book together and discovered the secret route behind the shelf.
Tarasha used her phone’s flashlight to brighten up the way as they rushed down the stairs of the dark escape route. The door was fastened behind by a simple metal lock which easily gave way. A policeman almost bumped into Tarasha as she walked out of the escape.
‘Sorry, did you guys see anything yet?’ The unsuspecting officer asked.
‘No’ Tarasha answered briefly.
‘You saw anything?’ The policeman stopped and directed the question to Benny again, breathing heavily and wiping sweat off his face. Tarasha moved forward, and pressed the Bluetooth device against her ear to reduce the noise entering as she called Cole’s name softly. There was no response, Cole must have disconnected. Tarasha gave up trying after several attempts. From the look of things, they had come out to left side of the events centre, just few centimetres to the backyard. She moved backwards to check, she could see the cleaners and chefs hurriedly packing up things. She saw a staff toilet there too. She took a quick look into the nylon bag in her hand, her cloth was still there; she heaved a sigh of relief.
‘Hey’ Tarasha gestured at Benny, ‘let’s check the toilet’. Benny quickly used the opportunity to escape from the policeman and followed Tarasha.
‘Hey’ a familiar voice called to them from the back. It was Cole, dressed in a police uniform. Tarasha and Benny turned back and headed straight towards him. The officer who had accosted them at the escape entrance looked at Cole in suspicion.
‘We gotta leave quickly, you guys should enter through the back’ Cole quickly whispered to them, pointing at a Ambulance parked far away at the front. A nurse was opening the back door to the part meant for patients.
It was five minutes to ten when Henry got to his personal apartment. He had chosen it instead of the cameras security commission quarters because of it’s closeness to the event centre from where he escaped from. The effect of the tear gas that has been dispelled by the police outside the event centre did not allow him wait outside the compound. He hurriedly left the environment and joined a cab which was going in direction of his home.
Henry didn’t like the smell that welcomed him into his living room, not that it was bad, but it made it obvious that no one had been in the house for days. He switched on the bulb and searched for his air freshener, he quickly sprayed it before turning on the air conditioner. He finally sat down and took out his phone. His first move was to track his smaller phone to know the location of the Range rover in which he and Evelyn was driven to the event. But on a second thought, he opened the dial pad first and dialed Evelyn’s phone number again. This time, it rang.
‘Evelyn’ Henry called anxiously as the call was answered.
‘Henry’ she called back, softly.
‘Where are you? Are you safe?’ Henry asked, happy that he finally heard her voice.
‘I’m fine, what about you?’
‘Fine too, I was worried about you’
‘I’m safe, thanks’ Henry heaved a sigh of relief before he continued. ‘Where are you now?’
‘I don’t really know this place but I’m in good hands’
‘Just wait there, I’ll come pick you up’
‘No need, don’t bother’ She rejected with a strong tone.
‘Evelyn’ Henry called softly, in surprise of her refusal. ‘I’m coming to get you’ he insisted with a stronger tone. The line went off.
Tarasha ended the call and switched off the phone immediately. She was seated on a chair opposite Benny who was seated on the patients bed. Tarasha took off the back cover of the phone and then took out the sim card. She destroyed the sim card by scratching the surface, then she broke it into two and dropped it on the floor.
Cole who was now putting on a lab coat over his police uniform was smiling and stealing glances at his boss through the front mirror as he drove with Aisha seated by his side, dressed in a nurse’s uniform. The operation had been the most exciting for Cole and he was feeling so fulfilled. Working according to his plan with the boss two days before the main day, he had driven out the Range rover after the security man had accosted him in the park and returned the car to where it was rented from. After that, he went to hire the ambulance and lab coat from the gang he had contacted the day before. Their choice of an ambulance was for the reason that they could easily escape with it and also disobey traffic signals.
They’ve had a successful operation, everyone had played their parts excellently and the team had come out victoriously. But something was wrong with the look on the Boss’s face, Cole observed.
‘Boss’ Cole called, knocking the transparent glass in the middle of the partition. Tarasha did not speak but stared at him in response. The look on her face had the message for him to say what he wanted to.
‘Did we miss out anything?’ Cole asked, taking another quick glance at her.
‘No’ Tarasha replied briefly. ‘We did well’ she added when Cole continued to look at her for more explanation. She continued with fixing back her phone.
‘Okay, you don’t look like you think we did well’ Cole continued.
‘True’ Benny joined in the conversation. ‘I wanted to say…’ Tarasha looked up with a frown. A frown which warned Benny not to speak further, he refrained quickly.
‘You wanted to say?’ Cole who didn’t see the frown continued. ‘Would you shut the hell up and face the road’ Tarasha slammed at him. A deep sudden silence enveloped the vehicle as a strange kind of tension gripped their hearts. Even Tarasha herself could not understand. What kept coming to her mind was Henry. The kisses which were supposed to be a part of her job and long forgotten immediately after the operation began to play back into her mind the moment they left the premises of the operation. Her several attempts to wave off the thoughts proved futile and the pictures kept coming back to her head, stronger and clearer.
In her mind, she could see him again, standing speechless in front of his room as she turned to face him. His face shine brightly like the sun, emanating a kind of glow that brought a strange smile to her lips and happiness to her heart. He fed his eyes on her body and then paused to stare into her yes, the flame in his eyes was strange to her, revealing a kind of passion she had not seen for a long period of time. What it was, she couldn’t still explain. Then, he moved closer to her and mumbled some words. He placed his hand around her waist and continued to stare into her eyes. She placed her hands on his shoulder, returning his stare. Their lips met. She broke away shortly, the mission was not yet accomplished then, she couldn’t let the strange passion consume her.
The mind drifted to their journey to the events centre, in the Range rover. The silence. How Henry was trying to avoid speaking with her. How his body shook when she rested a hand on his knee. He tried to explain but she covered his mouth with hers. Her hormones rushed through her body as she felt the soft touch of his lips again.
‘Boss, Boss…’ Cole broke into her thoughts, knocking and looking through the partition window. ‘What’s next?’
‘Huh?’ Tarasha’s body vibrated, feeling embarrassed as all eyes were on her. The bus had been stopped right in the compound of their initial lodge when they landed in Abuja and they were asking her a question which she didn’t hear because she was lost in thoughts.
‘Boss, you said we’re not going to stay here tonight, that we’ll only get here to pick something’ Cole said. Tarasha who was still lost eyed both Benny and Cole who were staring at her wickedly and hissed. She didn’t know what to say or do as she couldn’t remember again her earlier plan.
‘Who said we’re not staying here tonight? ‘She said with an intimidating voice as she opened the backdoor and dropped off the bus. Benny was staring at her strangely as he stepped out too. He didn’t understand what was going on. ‘We are staying here for tonight’ Tarasha said and walked straight towards the house.
Now she was wishing that moment she had with Henry never ended. She wished she could go back to play the Evelyn role again but the mission was over, she had to return to her default assassin settings. Aisha who had been silent all through the journey stepped out from the front seat and followed immediately after the boss to open the door because she had the keys with her. Cole stepped out after switching off the inner lights of the vehicle. He was smiling as he joined Benny at the back of the ambulance. Benny gave him a cold stare.
‘What? Why are you laughing? Do you know what’s wrong with the boss?’
‘Yes, I think I do’ Cole whispered back. ‘She feeling sad because she’s going to miss someone here in Abuja’
‘Going to miss someone in Abuja? Who?’
‘Someone I saw her kissing passionately today’ Cole replied, taking off his doctor’s coat.
‘Oh!’ Benny’s eyes since brightly in the dark, his interest arising more.
‘Who was that?’
‘Never mind’ Cole managed to say while he flung away the coat. He dipped his hands into his pockets to pick out what was there. ‘We will all know when the time comes’ he said as he walked away, leaving Benny to stand alone in the dark. Cole hissed as he brought out a handkerchief and a small Nokia phone from his pocket while walking away. The Nokia phone was the one he picked from the backseat of the Range rover before returning it to the owners.
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**Saturday; after several uneventful days ** ~~Abuja, Nigeria ~~ 11am
The shock and grief that came with the news of Jubril Lawal’s assassination was still very fresh in the African atmosphere. The streets were flooded with people rushing the newspaper vendors to get their copies so as update themselves on the latest discoveries surrounding the death. Journalists also flooded the street to get the farewell speeches from the citizens whose lives have been affected in one way or the other by Jubril Lawal. Everyone had something good to say about Jubril, from his charity works to his service and commitment to the nation’s growth, they all had felt his impact in one way or the other. None except for a middle aged man expressed doubts in the man’s integrity and commitment.
The middle aged man after praising Jubril for his visible works, paused before talking about the likely cause of his death.
‘It is possible that the man had an evil secret hidden with some people and they had to come and demand for his life. And it is also possible that the murderers are just enemies of the country and they killed Jubril because he refused to agree with a selfish plan of theirs’ the man had said while being interviewed by a journalist from the national TV station. ‘I really don’t have much to say anymore, all I know is that he was a good man’ Mallam Jefa said into the mic with a sad face.
‘All right, thanks for speaking with us’ the reporter said and left Jefa’s presence to face the camera alone.
Dakolo glanced at the beautiful buildings as they drove through the streets of Abuja. The cab man took his time to tell Dakolo the names of every street and what they did in every magnificent building that they passed by. The cab man was never silent, no wonder he didn’t put on the radio in the car, he himself was doing the job of a radio.
‘Sir, so why have you come to Abuja? Business? Pleasure? Both? Or none?’ The cab man asked as he took a glance at Dakolo seated at the back.
‘I’m relocating’ Dakolo replied him, enjoying the man’s jolly nature.
‘Relocating?’ The man stared at him. ‘What about your family? Where are they?’
‘My wife and kids are in port harcourt, they would join me after the school session ends’
‘Wow! That’s a long time, why didn’t you wait for them to finish the session?’ The cab man adjusted the front top mirror so that he can see Dakolo’s face from there.
‘I couldn’t wait, I was transferred at my place of work’
‘Oh! I see…’
‘Yeah. So what about your wife and kids?’
‘They’re all here in Abuja. My wife runs a mini restaurant and my two kids are in college’
‘Good’ Dakolo said with a chuckle.
Jefa turned back to the road, he picked out the piece of paper from his chest pocket again. ‘Tara works in Elymax hotel’ he read out the words which he had written down after the first day he had the encounter with his younger sister. Several days had gone by and Jefa had made the decision to meet her and explain things to her. What delayed him was his lack of proof. The Omotara he saw had now developed into a big girl, she looked highly educated too and he believed that she would not just accept his stories if he had nothing to show as proof.
Now, he was bringing a picture and a diary with him. A picture which contained the whole family’s image as at that time in it. The diary was their mum’s. He had taken the diary from his mother’s room and hid it behind in his trousers, planning to read it after the celebration of Omotara’s birthday that night, but he never had the chance to read it on that day.
His parents were killed and he and his remaining younger ones were abducted on the same day. He later found the picture in the middle of the diary on the day he opened it. He hoped that Omotara would be able to recall by seeing the picture and even the diary, which their mum had always warned them not to touch anytime she brought it out.
Deep down inside, he wished that Omotara would be a person of influence in the country; perhaps an influential lawyer or a friend to one who would be able to fight their cause for them. He was still hungry for revenge, he was tired of seeing the faces of the perpetrators of the evil that was done several years ago to him and his family and several thousands of other Nigerian families and kids, now in government offices parading themselves as saints and nice people.
He waved down a taxi and bent over to look inside. A man was already sitting comfortably at the back.
‘Elymax? That’s where we’re going to’ The taxi man replied, giving him a surprised look.
‘May I join you?’ Jefa replied indifferently, already trying to open the front door.
‘Okay, if you can pay five thousand naira’
‘What? For what? I’ll pay you two thousand’
‘No, I can’t take anything less than three thousand’
‘I’ll pay you two thousand five’ Jefa said and entered into the cab without waiting for a reply.
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~~ Lagos, Nigeria ~~ 11am
Laughter filled the room as the two friends joked and chatted happily. Chief Gab was in his casual native wear seated on the sofa in the middle of his large living room while Chief Nonso was seated on the sofa opposite to him, in a more official wear; his black trouser was matched with a black waist coat on a blue shirt.
‘You know I’ve been really thinking of something new’ Chief Gab interrupted the laughter, taking a sip of wine from the glass cup in front of him.
‘What’s that?’ Chief Nonso wiped off the tear formed in his eyes as a result of the heavy laughter and paused to listen.
‘I’m thinking we are being too harsh in judging some of these people’ Chief Nonso cleared his throat.
‘Why do you say so?’
‘We could just make Tarasha leave them alive after decapitating them; in a way that they’ll be able to see our success after we finish our plans while they are suffering’
‘Hmm… That sounds like a good idea’ Chief Nonso heaved a sigh and gave Chief Gab a stare. ‘Chief’ he called calmly.
‘Yes’ Chief Gab who was busy with his iPad looked up to see the serious look on Chief Nonso’s face. He narrowed his gaze as if to ask Chief Nonso what the matter was.
‘You’ve not still told me the reason we have some people on our list. I don’t understand why we are punishing some of them yet’
‘I think we talked about this before’ Chief Gab replied, standing up from his seat. He took the wine bottle and proceeded to the bar to take another wine bottle.
‘Yes, Chief Onwuli said before his death that you’ll explain to me before we begin but when I asked you, you said you’ll tell me soon. I’m wondering why the “soon” is not yet here’ Chief Gab walked back to his seat with a bottle of wine, he dropped it on the stool and walked to the flat screen TV to switch it on. He turned back to the sofa and returned to his former seating position without hurrying, not minding Chief Nonso’s eyes which was escorting him all about, awaiting his response.
‘If we don’t take care of these people, they’ll come back for us when we rise again’ Chief Gab finally said, looking straight in his friend’s eyes. Chief Nonso was already getting pissed off. ‘Several years ago, Seven of us were involved in a certain illegal businesses. Five of us were politicians. At that time, we were all successful, but we wanted more ; we wanted to lay up riches for our kids, we didn’t want them to suffer like we did’ Chief Gab paused his story to pour wine from the bottle into the glass cup.
‘We were friends; secret friends, nobody knew our association. Four of us were in the ruling party, ADP as at the time we started working together. One was in the strongest opposition party, PCP while the remaining two including the minister of health who was dropped recently were not involved in politics then . Two deflected from the ruling party to the strongest opposition party before the next election on seeing that there were little chances of victory for the ruling party at the polls.
The remaining two of us remained faithful to the ruling party. The election year came and we were defeated at the polls. The new government came in and began to investigate corrupt deals of the past government. Although, ours was not really a political crime; meaning it didn’t involve stealing or mismanagement of country’s fund kept in our trust, the crimes commission began to look into the personal lives of some politicians. This got us scared and the seven of us held an urgent secret meeting, we concluded that we would stop all illegal deals after we concluded the hanging fake drugs consignment and do our best to cover up our track. But unknowingly to I and Onwuli, my friend who was in my party, our counterparts in the new ruling party and the other two non-politicians had other plans.
The only one out of them who didn’t agree to their plans was found dead mysteriously several days after the meeting; I didn’t know it was connected to our meeting then’ Chief Gab took another pause and took a sip of the wine. He put back the cup on the stool and refilled it.
‘Unluckily for me, I was the one in charge of the execution of the last fake drugs consignment. Some of our secret documents were released to the police. The late minister of health was the NAFDAC chairman then, he didn’t show me pity at all. Jubril Lawal was the head of the law enforcement agency that handled my case; neither he showed any pity. I was indicted, found guilty in court and was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for a crime that we all committed. Onwuli and his whole family were murdered when he tried to speak out for me’ Chief Gab paused and stood up, taking the cup of wine with him.
‘The last time I went to Onwuli’s family grave, I swore that I was going to repay everyone of them even if it was going to take my last breath’ Chief Nonso heaved a deep sigh as he stood up and stared straight at Chief Gab. He now understood why Chief Gab was bent on seeing the death of everyone on the list. Chief Onwuli’s family’s murder was a very gruesome one. Onwuli was made to see the bodies of each member of his family including the young ones chopped into pieces by the murderers and himself was given a poison that killed him slowly. Onwuli was a saviour to Nonso, being the one who helped Nonso survive a life threatening disease and also brought Nonso’s family out of pain and distress. Chief Nonso let out another deep breath as he remembered the promise he made to Chief Onwuli seconds before the man gave up the ghost.
Chief Onwuli had made him promise to stand by his friend, Gabriel in prison and also help him when he comes out. He also made the promise to assist Gabriel in whatever he does to take revenge for Chief Onwuli’s death.
‘So you see, we are delivering judgement to those who deserves it’ Chief Gab added, smacking his lips as he took in another sip.
‘None of them deserves to be left alive, they should all die’ Nonso said, giving a determined stare at Chief Gab. ‘I think we should even increase their pain, make their death as horrible as Chief Onwuli’s’
‘Yes’ Chief Gab agreed. He took another sip from the cup before speaking again. ‘And I’ve been thinking of something else’
‘How to get rid of Tarasha after we finish all the enemies. She seems to be very powerful and fearless, she might become a threat to us in the future’
‘So, what’s your plan?’
‘I don’t have any yet. I fear her myself’ Chief Nonso smiled. He gave Chief Gab an awkward look.
‘So you mean that with all the wisdom you’ve used to organise the big men’s destruction, you’re afraid of a little girl?’ Chief Gab hissed in reply first before thinking deeply on Nonso’s statement. He spoke again after a some seconds of horrible silence.
‘You’re right, no matter how powerful she seems to be, she is a small girl and she does not have the wisdom we have’
‘Exactly… She will just fall into a little trap set for her, we only need to be very wise’ …
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To be continued