11. 08 am
Henry drove quietly, in a solemn manner, listening to songs from the new album of veteran artiste, Asa. Her genre of music was the perfect one for his mood right now. He had not remained himself since the day of the event. Several things had played down his memory in the last two days; including the pictures of the assassin and how he walked up to Jubril Lawal and murdered the man. But the strongest of the pictures were of Evelyn’s face. He kept seeing her in everything he did, even when he closed his eyes. He tried to figure out what really happened between them, the passion he felt when she placed her head against his chest and when they kissed. Was it love or just lust she was feeling? Maybe both. At the point they kissed, he had the lust for her whole body, he could already see her wrapped around himself, both of them unclad, he squeezing her boobs in his hands.
No, it had to stop if it was lust, he had determined in his heart, knowing that nothing borne out of lust would last. But he also felt something more in his heart, in his spirit. The desire to see her well even if he couldn’t have her body, the desire to see her happy. There was something in her eyes when he stared into it, something that showed him that she wasn’t happy although she always performed well in her bid to hide it.
Where she was now, he had no idea. Her line had been switched off since the last time he tried it, so all his attempts to track it were futile. He also tried again to get the customer’s information of her sim by hacking into the database of the network provider but there was still no information there. It had either been deleted or the information never existed. He couldn’t conclude yet.
Oh! And the Canadian number he was supposed to investigate. He finally concluded the investigation, though the client was no longer interested nor was there any call to ask for it. The Canadian number was cloned, it had not even been issued out to any customer by the network provider in Canada. Henry found out that the user was in Africa because on tracking the last conversations restored from the backup of the network provider of his client’s line, he could deduce the maximum possible distance of the Canadian number, which was a distance within Africa.
All these discoveries were confirming Henry’s fear but he still refused to admit it. Evelyn claimed to be from Canada and was doing business with the late Jubril Lawal, it must have definitely been her number the man was investigating. Or how else could he explain that Evelyn only began to insist that he followed her to the party after she saw the number in his jotter? And what else was the explanation for her unregistered and now unreachable Nigerian line? It meant she must have destroyed the line since her mission had ended. But with all these proofs, Henry still choose to believe that he was mistaken, he didn’t want to see her that way. He couldn’t get himself to think of her as a criminal. To him, she was someone who was in need of great help and he believed he could give her that help.
He remembered her outburst the first time he called the name “God” and attributed God to be a loving person while conversing with her . The pain he saw in her eyes that day was too much for a young woman like her to bear. She needed someone to show her love; real love and not one of sexual attraction. Then he recalled her sharing the story of her family’s death with him. Going through such a horrible experience would most definitely affect one’s future and even control it if one finds no help. She needed help, she needed love. That was all Henry could think, regardless of every other thing he had found out about her.
Henry finally got to his destination by twenty minutes past eleven. The security men searched his car before allowing him to pass in through the huge gates of Elymax hotel.
The cabman zoomed off immediately after the new passenger entered. He cleared his throat and continued his conversation with Dakolo.
‘So what kind of company do you work in? What’s the name?’ He asked, looking into the top mirror.
‘Hmm…’ Dakolo paused and licked his lips as he thought of the best answer to give the man.
‘I’m a contractor who works per time for different companies, one of the firms I partner with has this urgent big building project here. That’s why I had to rush down’
‘Oh! Building contractor?’ The cab asked to affirm.
‘Yes’ Dakolo answered.
‘Cool…’ The man said with a short laugh. ‘When I was young I wanted to be a civil engineer but there was no money to further my studies after college, so I had to go through vocational training’
‘Oh! And what vocation were you trained for?’ Dakolo asked.
‘Carpentry’ the man answered with a smile. ‘I’m a carpenter’
‘Nice, but are you practising it?’
‘I was, I had to stop for some reasons. But I’m planning to go back to it once I raise enough money for capital’
‘Better, carpentry is a lucrative job. Do you make furnitures or you do roofing?’
‘I do both and I’m very good at it’
‘Wonderful, maybe I could even get you some jobs when you start’
‘Sure, I can. But you’ll have to prove first that you’re really good at it’
‘Oh! That’s not a problem. Thank you sir, I’ll make sure I get your telephone number before I drop you off’
‘Okay’ Dakolo said. There was silence for some seconds.
‘What did you say sir?’ The cab man suddenly put in.
‘I only said okay’ Dakolo quickly answered.
‘Oh! Not you sir’ the cab man quickly corrected. He was facing the new passenger seated with him at the front.
‘Me?’ Jefa asked with a surprised tone.
‘Yes, I thought you were saying something to me’ the cab man replied.
‘No no’ Jefa denied strongly.
‘Okay. But hope there’s no problem sir. I noticed your mood since you entered’ the cab man spoke in a low voice.
‘Nothing, I was just thinking about a small issue’
‘Well, okay’ the cabman shrugged.
‘Good morning miss’ Henry greeted as he approached the reception.
‘Good morning, you’re welcome to Elymax hotels. What can I do for you?’
‘I’m Henry George, from the NSCC’ Henry displayed his ID card.
‘Nigeria security cameras corporation’ the lady read aloud.
‘Okay, what may I do for you?’
‘We’re investigating a particular case and I need information about one of your guests. I don’t know if she’s still here’
‘Humm… I think I have to refer you to someone else. I can’t handle your request’
‘Alright, please do that quickly’ Henry replied and paused. He turned to stare around the place while the lady was making a call with the landline. ‘Please come with me’ the lady dropped the call and walked out from behind the wall. She led him towards a corridor in the right direction. They got to an office after walking a few metres and Henry was ushered in. A middle aged man on a black suit was seated in the office. The receptionist introduced Henry and left.
‘May I see your ID card again?’ The man asked after offering Henry a seat.
‘Here’ Henry took it out to show him.
‘So who’s this guest you’re investigating and what’s her crime really?’
‘No, she has not been accused or found guilty of any crime yet’ Henry corrected quickly. ‘We only need to get some of her personal details’
‘So you want to meet her and talk to her?’ The man raised a brow. ‘We do respect the privacy of our guests here and we won’t like to give out any information without proper verification of who needs it’
‘I don’t understand’
‘You’ve not showed us any licence yet or letter that proves that the NSCC sent you to get this information’ the man explained further.
‘Oh! I can get one now’ Henry said, bringing out his phone. ‘Via email’ he added. He dialed Sylvester’s number.
‘Wait, we can help you meet with the person if you want to’ Henry cut the call first.
‘I doubt if she’s still in your hotel’
‘Let’s find out, what’s her name?’
‘Evelyn… Evelyn Alexander’
‘Okay’ the man began to type into his computer system while Henry continued with his call.
‘Hello sir, could you please forward a permit for Elymax to my mailbox now? I need it in urgently’ Henry said into the phone. He inhaled lightly after getting a positive response and ended the call.
‘Evelyn Alexander was here truly, she paid for three weeks’ the man began.
‘But she has been gone for days without any word to us, we tried contacting her through our customer’s service but the number she dropped was unreachable’
‘Exactly… That’s why I need you to give me every information she supplied to your hotel’
‘Have you gotten the permit?’
The forty minutes journey finally came to an end as they drove into Elymax hotels. The cab man, being someone who knew his way around the hotel needed no security man to direct him to the right place to park. He quickly located the best available space and drove his car there.
‘Here is my card sir’ The cab man handed over his card to Dakolo after he turned off the car engine. ‘You can reach me if you need a cab to take you around town’
‘Sure’ Dakolo collected it cheerfully. ‘And make sure you do contact me with the number I gave you’
‘I will’ the cab man replied, counting the Naira notes given to him by Jefa.
‘It’s complete’ he said to dismiss Jefa and stepped out of the car afterwards. He walked to the back to open the boot. Jefa stepped out too and stared around the big building, not knowing the next place to go, he stood still. Dakolo also stepped out and walked to the booth. The cab man handed over his small luggage to Dakolo and returned to his car after exchanging some few more words with him.
Dakolo turned and stared at the big hotel building where he was going to stay until the next day evening when he’s officially welcomed. He took two steps away from the cab as he heard the sound of the car’s ignition. He turned around to look at his surroundings and then he saw a familiar face.
‘You…’ He mumbled with a smile as he huried towards the young man trying to enter his car. Henry looked up. ‘Henry George’ Dakolo finally remembered the name.
‘Oh! Special agent…’ Henry tapped his nose continuously with a finger as he struggled to remember the name. ‘Agent Dakolo’ Dakolo quickly put in.
‘Wow!’ Henry closed back the car door and walked towards Dakolo, full of smiles.
‘It’s nice to see you again’ Henry said as they shook hands warmly.
‘Yeah, after so many years. How have you been?’
‘Fine sir, how about you?’
‘I’m fine.’ Dakolo said and stared warmly into his eyes. ‘Thank you for making me proud of you. My joy knew no bounds when I saw the news of your exploits on the TV and in the newspapers’
‘Thank you sir’ Henry smiled.
‘Thank God you didn’t allow that tragic occurrence affect your life. See what you’ve made of yourself now’
‘Thank you sir’ Henry’s face continued to beam with smiles. ‘Well, I had to let that go and focus on my future. You see, bad people get their rewards, even if it comes late’
‘Yes, you’re right. Just look at the way he and his father died, both on the same day. What a sorry life! ‘
‘Yea, although I heard the father was a generous man before his death and did many charity works ” Henry put in.
‘No matter the quantity of pure water added to dirty water, it can never make the dirty water pure. In his own case, the quantity of dirty water far exceeds the pure. The man already had so much blood in his hands. We couldn’t just get him because he was clever enough to eliminate all possible proofs’
‘Hmm… Well, what brings you here?’ Henry asked.
‘My job’ Dakolo smiled. ‘I was transferred here to handle some cases.’ He glanced at his wristwatch.
‘But why did you have to take a cab? Was there no provision to come pick you?’
‘There should be’ Dakolo said. ‘I was actually supposed to arrive tomorrow but I had to come today for some reasons’
‘Okay, so what state were you transferred from?’
‘Oh! Well…’ Henry was cut short abruptly by the sight of someone walking by, the person paused and faced Henry. Dakolo turned to see the person at his back. It was the same man who was in the cab with him.
‘I gotta go now’ Dakolo said, handing a card to Henry. ‘Please give me a call tonight’ Dakolo said before walking away.
‘Alright sir’ Henry dipped the card into his pocket and turned up to faced Jefa. He walked slowly towards Jefa who stood still with a kind of timid look. ‘You again’ Henry said, recalling him as the man from the police interrogation and the one Evelyn was facing in the Catholic Church premises.
‘I…’ Jefa stuttered for a while. ‘I have come to see my sister’
‘Your sister?’ Henry asked in uttermost disbelief.
‘Yes, that lady is my sister’ Jefa said shakily.
Tarasha laid on the three seater sofa in the living room having a nap while Benny, Cole and Aisha engaged themselves with the ludo game at the balcony. Some flies could be seen in the living room as all the windows which had torn nets were opened because of the unbearable heat. But Tarasha was undisturbed, she was having a sound sleep. Several circumstances had kept them behind after the operation. They couldn’t leave immediately because the security in the capital was still very stiff. After much thinking and putting of heads together, they finally planned to leave the following Monday; that is the day after the next day.
‘Ooh!’ Benny exclaimed as Aisha kicked back in the last of his eight tokens the third time. He was seated on a stool, with his shirt hanging around his neck. Aisha was seated on another stool directly facing Benny and they had the ludo board placed on two six inches blocks. Cole was seated on another block, watching and making comments. He had already gone on several rounds of the game with Aisha and they ended up with a tie in scores. The particular game between Aisha and Benny was even now, they both had one token each left and in the players yard. The first person to get a six would get the token out to begin the race to the finishing point. Aisha and Cole laughed at Benny as he heaved a sigh of frustration.
‘Homey, if you’re not careful, this will be the fifth time you’ll be beaten by a lady today’ Cole jested.
‘And that means I’ll actually spell his name’ Aisha added with a chuckle.
‘ 5 – 0, B-e-n-n-y’
‘Just watch and see, I’ll win this game’ Benny replied with a determined tone as he poured out the dice from the dice cup. He had four and five come up, he picked the dice into the cup and handed it over to Aisha for her own roll. Aisha stared at his jestingly as she shook the dice cup.
‘Come on, play’ Benny said, getting impatient.
‘Two sixs’ Aisha said, laughing hilariously. She rolled again after shaking vigorously. ‘Six, two’ she rolled out the extra turn earned by reason of the two sixs Benny took the dice cup from her in frustration, he avoided looking at Cole who was already making funny faces at him. He shook the cup from side to side in the same manner as Aisha, watching carefully as Aisha placed her token after counting. Aisha and Cole stared at Benny’s face in suspense as he continued to shake the cup. He kept a smile on his face as if he was sure of the outcome of his new roll. Kpaa… He landed the cup with so much force on the board and removed it. Aisha and Cole burst into heavy laughter as two ones stared at them from the surface of the dice.
‘Come on, play’ Benny hurried Aisha again, forcing himself not to give up. Aisha took the cup out she rolled again. Two sixs. Another round of heavy laughter came from Cole. Benny finally gave up, he got up from the stool with a smile of defeat.
‘I’m not playing again’ he announced as he walked into the house, ignoring Cole’s uncontrollable laughter.
‘Please, come and play one more now’ he could hear Cole calling to him jestingly as he proceeded into the room. He paused and stared at Tarasha who was asleep on the couch. He wished she could always look exactly the way she was looking now; gentle, peaceful and harmless. She should really be at peace with herself after such a successful operation.
‘Oooh’ Benny’s body trembled as Tarasha eyes popped open. She caught him feeding his eyes on her face. The gentle and peaceful face Benny was seeing seconds ago had changed into the normal Tarasha’s face. He quickly hastened his steps and rushed out of her sight. Tarasha wiped off the sweat on her face and sat up, she glanced at the wall clock, it was just twelve pm. She couldn’t wait to get out of Abuja and begin her new task. She was also now in a hurry to conclude all Chief Gab’s tasks and leave the country. And Henry’s issue? She had settled it in her heart already. As far as she was concerned now , he was her greatest enemy that needs to be either taken out of her sight forever or out of the planet earth. That was her training, anything that returns emotion into her heart should not be allowed to live. People who have emotions are weak people; and weak people can’t live the right kind of life. So if Henry was stirring up emotions in her, he had to be moved out of her sight forever or killed before he succeeds in making her weak. Her final resolve was to kill him when next he comes into her life.
‘Your sister?’ Henry asked again to be sure of what he heard.
‘Yes, Omotara Danjuma is my kid sister’ Jefa replied.
‘Hahaha’ Henry suddenly burst into sudden laughter. Jefa who was startled by the outburst stared at him in confusion.
‘Omotara what again?’ Henry asked, trying to calm himself.
‘Omotara Danjuma’ Jefa answered him again, with so much conviction in his voice.
‘Okay, pardon me… I actually thought you were talking about somebody else. I’m sorry, I don’t know Omotara Danjuma.’ Henry said, cleaning his eyes as he spoke. ‘Does your sister work around here?’
‘I don’t know’ Jefa shook his head in negative. He took out the piece of paper from his front pocket.
‘Then why are you looking for her here? Did she get lost?’ Jefa read the contents of the paper to himself again.
‘I heard you guys mention Elymax that day’.
‘The day you escaped from the kidnappers. After she came to me in the cathedral premises’ Henry made a quick flashback. Evelyn was standing before the man while he knelt by the statue of virgin Mary. But he didn’t hear them talk to each other. All that happened was a silent stare.
‘No, I don’t know Evelyn’ Jefa shook his head.
‘That girl you came to meet in the catholic church, the one I saw you with in the police office is my sister’
‘Unbelievable!’ Henry exclaimed under his breath. ‘But you said Omotara Danjuma’ Cole asked again, aloud, this time with a serious tone.
‘Yes, that’s her name not Evelyn’
‘Omotara is a Yoruba name, I don’t think she’s Yoruba, she doesn’t look nor sound like one’ Henry retorted.
‘Yes, she didn’t grow up in …’
‘Hello Sirs’ someone interrupted, a security official.
‘You have to proceed into the main building please, you can’t stand here and have a discussion’
‘Okay’ Henry answered with a slow nod. He stared at Jefa’s face for some seconds thoughtfully.
‘Let’s go in for a discussion’ he said and turned back to the car to shut the door.
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‘Thank you’ Dakolo smiled as the attendant who helped him get his load to the room left. He sank into the bed and started to unbutton his shirt, also murmuring some words of prayers. He sat up and took off the shirt completely. He flung it on the bed and laid back. His mind drifted back to his encounter with Henry several years ago. He was a junior agent in the force then and was not yet in the anti- asassination squad.
He was at the office reception when Henry had rushed with a friend in tears, to report a gang of three guys who molested his sister to death. Dakolo took special interest in the case and did all he could do to get justice for Henry. But lack of funds and the culprit’s father’s influence did not let him go far in his fight for Henry. The culprit, Dare Lawal, was later acquitted and discharged by the court of law. He remembered advising Henry then, to continue with his studies and not allow what happened affect his future. Now, the same Henry was known widely in the world for his exploits on the internet and for helping his country solve a severe security attack. His enemies too had been paid by nemesis in its own way. Dakolo’s phone rang. His wife. He exhaled deeply before answering.
‘Hello dear… I just got to the hotel room… Thanks, I’ll call you later… I love you’ the call ended. He got up from the bed to get his traveling bag. He opened the bag and took out a suitcase. He punched in the lock code and it opened. He brought out some documents and closed back the suitcase. He began to read through. Before his arrival in Abuja, he had already began to receive messages on what he was going there to do. The new case of Jubril Lawal’s assassination also came up. He was going to be working with Officer Ken on that.
P Jubril Lawal’s assassination was quite different from the recent past ones. Eyewitnesses had it that it was carried out by a man and he wasn’t accompanied by anybody. Officer Ken had also written in his report that it was highly possible that the crime was carried out by one of the security officials of the event centres as the escape routes used were only places known to them. Several of the security officials had been arrested and kept in the police custody for interrogation. Several sessions of torture and torments had occurred within the last two days but there was still no confession to show for it’ Dakolo’s phone rang again. Officer James was the one calling.
‘Hello officer’ Dakolo spoke cheerfully.
‘Good afternoon sir’ James greeted. ‘How was your trip?’
‘It was fine, thanks’
‘Alright, thank God. Yesterday, I received my letter of transfer also’
‘Transfer ?’ Dakolo replied, surprised.
‘Yes sir, coupled with the long overdue promotion’
‘Wow! Congratulations’ Dakolo rejoiced with him. The promotion had been long overdue truly. After several cases solved by James, the force still retained him as a special officer for so long, denying him the promotion and several other benefits.
‘Thank you sir’ James said without much excitement.
‘What’s wrong?’ Dakolo asked, noticing the unhappy voice.
‘Nothing sir, I’m really happy about the promotion part but I think the reason it’s happening is because of my inability to solve this Samantha Osman’s case. I overheard the IG saying that the minister wants more younger and zealous officers who are very hungry for promotion to handle the case’
‘Don’t think like that’ Dakolo said after heaving a sigh. ‘We’ve done our best based on the evidence gotten. Even the NSCC has a part to play in all these. If they’ve not been able to recover the lost footages or discover who interrupted the transmission of the security cameras, what are we supposed to use for our investigation. I believe we don’t have enough data to work with’
‘Sir, several years ago. Assassination cases were solved by the police without the use of the technology we use now. Why can’t we…’
‘Officer James’ Dakolo cut in. ‘Several years ago, Assassins do not use the kind of technology they use now. Several years ago, most top assassination cases like these spans for more than fifteen years, some even exceed thirty years without getting a headway. So you shouldn’t compare, the police force is better now’ James was quiet. ‘Don’t blame yourself, we’ll keep trying our best but be sure of this one thing’ Dakolo paused for a brief moment. ‘Good always prevail over evil’
‘Thank you sir’ James replied after another brief moment of silence, in a very low voice.
‘So where have you been sent to?’ ‘Ilorin, Kwara State. I’m going to be working as a special agent in the anti-assasination squad also’
‘Sounds cool… Congratulations, just keep doing your best. We’ll prevail’
‘Thank you sir’ After few other talks, the call ended. Dakolo returned to his work, he continued reading through the documents. He paused as he saw something.
‘No recordings or videos footages found in the cameras security database. It has not been ascertained if there was any capturing or not’ he read. ‘Except for one photographer that is currently being interrogated, no journalist or member of the press was allowed into the event hall. Footages from the street cameras leading to and out of the event centres were also not found’ he read aloud to himself.
He just found a similarity between the new assassination case to the two others, there was no video capture of the Assassination process nor the escape. Could it be that the assassin works in or has an ally in the NSCC? ‘Oh s–t!’ Dakolo cursed as Henry’s picture flashed back to his mind. He should have been the one to take Henry’s card, what if Henry forgets to call him. Henry might be greatly needed now to help in these cases.
A great intensity of heat welcomed Benny as he walked into the room. He changed his direction and headed straight for the wardrobe. His previous plan was to come in and lay on the bed after he couldn’t stand the much beatings he got in the game from Aisha. Due to the unbearable heat in the room, he had changed his mind and decided to only change his trouser to shorts. One of Cole’s trousers dropped to the ground as Benny opened the wardrobe. He bent to pick it up. A phone fell out of the trouser. He picked up the phone and checked it, it was specially customised for a user. He opened the back to check the battery and closed it back. He switched on the phone. …
to be continued