The email containing the details of the remaining targets came in few minutes after Tarasha’s conversation with Chief Gab. She began her research immediately and was already gathering vital information about the targets. But Chief Gab also sent her a summary of their profiles.
Nasiru Attahiru, the next on the list, according to Chief Gab’s plan was formerly one of Chief Gab’s close associates before the take over of a new government after the elections in the year 2016. Then, he was just a politician, in the same party as Chief Gab until 2015, a year before the election year when he switched to the strongest opposition party after it seemed to be growing stronger than the ruling party. He also vied for the position of a senator in the Kaduna state house of assembly in the same year. He was successful and remained in the office for eight years.
In the year 2024, he attempted to run for the governor’s seat but failed woefully in his party’s primaries because most of his party members were still finding it hard to trust him, majorly for his undefined reason for switching parties. But that didn’t deter him from contesting for other positions. As a business tycoon, he had enough money to keep buying the forms and to carry out massive campaigns. He only needed to put on better strategies. He used the next three years before another election to move closer to and buy the trust of the party heads and most of its members.
When 2028 came, he didn’t contest for the governorship position again but waited until both the presidential and governorship elections were over. He was actually interested in the seat of the Senate President. He won the seat without stress and had since then been the number three citizen of the nation.
Elvis Richards, the last on the list, was the current vice President of the nation. He had been serving in the government for more than sixteen years. During the time of his association with Chief Gab and the rest six, he was the vice Governor of Lagos state. He was a part of the major heads that came together to form the strong opposition party before the year 2016 and ousted the seating government.
During his tenure as the vice governor, he and his head looted the state treasury but did it in such a way that the masses believed they were actually working for them.
Before his service as the vice governor, he was the commissioner of police for the state. Ruthless and cruel he was to criminals, the crime rate of the state reduced to the lowest minimum while he was there. But he was also vicious himself, while he punished other criminals ruthlessly, he was always a hardened criminal, sponsoring several criminal acts secretly.
Elvis Richards during his eight years tenure as the vice governor was the mastermind and pioneer of the coalition between the seven friends including himself, Chief Gabriel, Chief Onwuli, Chief Jubril, Chief Nnamdi, Chief Nasiru and Chief Rufai. Four out of the seven were dead already; two were killed recently by an unknown assassin for reasons unknown.
Elvis Richards spearheaded the group activities and introduced them to the major illegal business deals. He also supervised the gruesome murders of Chief Onwuli and Chief Rufai.
After the new government came resumed in 2016, Chief Elvis was called to service again. He was to take charge of the Nation’s security. He did his job faithfully and worked tirelessly to curb all crimes and ensure safety, finally putting a stop to his own criminal activities, mainly because he thought of his children’s future and didn’t want them to be in trouble because of him. It was during these eight years that better security measures like the use of security cameras and other forensic innovations were put to place.
After, he took a four years break from 2024 to 2027. In 2027, he was appointed by his party to contest alongside the seating President. That’s how Elvis Richards rose to be the number two citizen of the nation. The next two jobs would be tougher than the last three put together, Tarasha could envisage. But it would be done, she was sure, she only needed to get close to the targets and plan very well.
Tarasha rose up from her sofa and stretched her body. She shifted the centre table away and began to do some acrobatics to exercise herself. She stopped after some minutes and picked up a face towel hung on the backrest of the sofa to wipe the sweat on her body. She then proceeded outside to the balcony where the others were playing the ludo game. There was a pause when she opened the curtains and stood by the door. The three gamers turned to look at her, they turned back to their game when she didn’t say anything.
She stepped away from the balcony and walked into the compound. She got to the side where about fifty six inches building blocks were neatly arranged. She picked one and carried it back to the balcony. She erected it beside Benny to sit.
‘Come sit here boss’ Cole offered, trying to show some respect.
‘No, thanks’ she calmly refused. Cole turned back to his game but couldn’t concentrate anymore, he was stealing glances at the boss’s face. Aisha was not fully concentrating too. It seemed they all had the same thing in mind. It was strange for the boss to sit with them and watch them play. The expression showing on her face even revealed that she was enjoying watch them play and that surprised them further.
Benny and Aisha were happy about it, they thought it would be nice if she could only be as friendly as she was now at all times but Cole was still indifferent. Except for Cole who had a clue, none of them had really come to understand their boss; none knew that she controlled the expressions on her face. She could keep a happy smile on even if she was greatly infuriated. She was trained not to have emotions, so how could she express what she didn’t have. The only emotions she was permitted to express sometimes were anger and hate. But she was trained specially to use her facial expressions to manipulate people and use them for her purposes.
‘I’ll be playing the next game with you, let’s make it a four man game’ Tarasha surprised them further, surprising Cole more
‘So you can play boss?’ Cole teased happily. It seemed to him now that she was expressing real emotions.
‘I’ve learnt it’ Tarasha replied.
‘Just now?’ Cole asked again.
‘Yes, how long does it take to learn it?’ She asked.
‘It depends on individuals’ Cole replied. ‘But I’m sure this is not the first time you watched someone play it’
‘I’ve seen something like this called Mandavoshka, and I also saw you play this yesterday’
‘Just yesterday?’ Cole asked. She nodded in affirmation. ‘Hehe’ Cole replied with a chuckle.
‘It’s time to teach the boss some lessons’ he said in his mind. The time came for the four man game. Tarasha began well with the basics, she knew the number needed to leave the players home and could count very well. But out of inexperience, she took out all the tokens at a time and Aisha who was the gamer before her took the advantage and began to send all her tokens back in. Tarasha came last in all four rounds they played, but except for Cole who mocked a little with chuckles and smiles, the two others couldn’t make fun of her openly like they would of themselves.
‘We may not be leaving Abuja for now’ Tarasha announced as Cole shook the dice cup to make his roll. He paused and looked up. Benny and Aisha also fixed their eyes on her. ‘We have two new targets and they live in Abuja’ she explained further. ‘We need to start work as soon as possible, these two jobs are going to require a lot from us; we have to make a lot of research and take a lot of risks’ she paused and smiled on seeing the expression on their faces. ‘Don’t worry, you’ll be paid handsomely’ ‘Play’ she said to Cole who was still shaking the dice cup. Three of them still fixed their eyes on her, they were expecting one last thing.
‘The Senate President and Vice President are our next targets’ she announced. They were dumbstruck. The eagerness to continue with the game left them at once.
‘Mallam Jefa!’ Someone hailed as he walked into the shop. Jefa replied him by raising his two hands in the air. His customers had already filled the shop like every normal evening and he was very busy. About fifteen guys and two ladies were in the shop.
‘Oga Jefa, where you go since all these days na?’ The customer asked of his whereabouts in pidgin English.
‘I’ve been busy with some personal issues’ Jefa answered, less enthusiastically.
‘Hope you’re back now?’
‘I hope so. I might get busy again soon’
‘Please, don’t get busy o’ the guy pleaded with a serious tone. ‘These last two days that you didn’t open, I went to sleep without having dinner ‘ Jefa smiled.
‘Iko, what do you want?’
‘Get me some… ‘ he was saying when they heard a disturbing sound.
‘Are you crazy? Who the hell do you think you are?’ Two of Jefa’s customers had begun a fight. From the look of things especially the fighters’ demeanours, it was obvious that they had both had some portion of weed before coming to eat. Before Jefa could make any move, one of the fighters had bent down to break a bottle but the second guy smashed a stool on his head before he tried to look up. Things were getting out of control already.
The other customers, instead of separating the fighters began to take sides with the one they know. Soon, chairs, bottles and plates were flying everywhere.
Henry let out a deep breath as he killed the engine. He turned off the headlights but remained in the car. His Saturday had been unusually hectic, unlike other weekends when he had the whole day to himself. He made a quick flashback of all he had done that day. From his visit to Elymax and the incidental meeting with Dakolo, his meeting with Jefa also. Jefa didn’t let him go until he confirmed that Henry had given him his real phone number and address. Then his work in the office;
Dakolo’s appearance had caused so many things to be revealed, so many flaws in the NSCC system and need to improve. He took out his phone from his pocket, he hadn’t touched it for a while. He had five unseen notifications; one from his device locator, two text messages and two from social networks. He clicked on the device locator notification. After some processing, the app displayed the text “HGE device located” and read it out at the same time. Henry’s eyes widened in disbelief. He clicked on “more details” immediately. It displayed a map, a green dot was specifying the exact location of the device found.
‘Gwagalada’ Henry muttered to himself. He zoomed the exact location on the map, read out the street and house address to himself.
~~~ **The next day** 6am
As usual, Tarasha was the first to get up from bed. She walked out to take a cup of water and returned into her room to change into her workout clothes. After about an hour of workout, she returned into the house. Aisha was also up already and was busy in the kitchen. Tarasha picked up her tablet device and switched it on. She laid back on the bed and waited for it to boot. After three minutes, she picked it up again. She drew the security pattern. Her eyes met something and she looked suddenly alarmed, a warning alert popped up. She sat up quickly and placed it on her laps. She began to type in commands speedily using the keyboard. Her fears were confirmed, someone from the same building was sending out location signals. There was a traitor amongst them.
She got up hurriedly and dashed out of her room, shouting Cole and Benny’s names. Without waiting for them to respond, she proceeded to their room and kicked the door open. Cole and Benny had been woken by her voice already and was hurrying to put on their clothes.
‘Where are your phones?’ Tarasha barked at the guys who were still in their underwear. They seemed perplexed and gave no answer, staring at each other’s faces. ‘Bring out all your devices and join me in the living room now’ she said before slamming the door. ‘Aisha’ she called out too. Aisha quickly walked out of the kitchen. ‘Leave whatever you are doing, go and bring your phone and every other device you have with you.’ Aisha replied with a nod and hurried up to her room.
In less than two minutes, Benny, Cole and Aisha had assembled into the living room with all their phones and devices, waiting. They stood in front of the three seater sofa side by side on a straight line. Tarasha wasn’t there, only her tablet could be seen on one of the sofas. She came out a minute later, loading bullets into a short gun while a long gun was hung around her arm.
‘Who is the traitor here?’ She said as she finished loading the gun. The whole building was silent, fear gripped their hearts as they watched their boss threaten, she looked like one who was really ready to kill them. ‘Where are your devices?’ Tarasha asked, pointing for them to drop all the devices on the centre table. They complied.
‘Switch on everything’ Tarasha ordered. Cole and Aisha returned to the table to power on theirs and returned to the line. There was a total of seven devices on the table. Cole had four due to the nature of his job. Aisha had two while Benny owned the remaining one.
Tarasha moved closer to the table, staring at their faces carefully. She pocketed the small gun and picked up her tablet device from the sofa. She moved it over the devices for a period of one minute, scanning to know which device was connecting with the outsider. She had to find the device quickly to know the location of the outsider. She stepped back and stared at their faces, shaking her head in pity for them.
‘These are not all the devices in this house’ she said as she tossed back her own device to the sofa. She took out gun pointed it at them. Benny raised up his hand,
‘there’s one more’ he said with fear in his voice, but he kept a straight face trying to act like a strong man who wasn’t scared to die.
‘Where’s it?’ Benny pointed towards their room, Tarasha signaled for him to go get it. He left and returned a minute later with the phone that fell off from Cole’s pocket.
‘Let me have it’ Tarasha said and Benny handed it over. Her device began to beep loud as she brought them closer. That was what she was looking for. ‘Who owns this?’ She asked after scrutinizing it. There was no answer. ‘Who owns it?’ Tarasha repeated again. They all kept quiet. Benny felt the urge to say that it was Cole’s but he remained quiet, not wanting to betray a brother. Tarasha cocked the gun. Aisha began to tremble visibly while the men remained as they were physically, but already dead on the inside.
‘I brought it in’ Cole finally said. Tarasha stared at him in disbelief for some seconds.
‘How much were you paid for this?’ She focused her gun to his forehead. Her finger was about to touch the trigger when she began to hear footsteps approaching the doorpost. She turned her head back towards the door. The footsteps seized for a while.
‘I don’t own it, I took it from the car we …’ Cole wanted to explain. She turned back in anger to shoot but her hands dropped as a knock sounded on the door. Tarasha dropped the gun slowly and took a glance at the door and back at Cole. She turned and walked to the door, holding the gun in alertness. She peeped through the door hole and saw the person knocking, she clenched her left fist and gave an evil chuckle as she tightened her grip against the door. Part of her felt like opening the door and gunning him down immediately, the other part felt like opening the door to embrace him. She stood back and paused for a while.
‘Answer the door, you should know how to handle him. Return his phone to him. If he asks’ she said to Cole as she hurried back into her room.
‘Come with me’ she motioned Benny to follow pack the rest of the devices and follow her, leaving only Henry’s phone. Cole heaved a heavy sigh of relief. He made a sign of the cross as he walked slowly to the door, whoever was at the door was his saviour. He peeped through the door hole but didn’t recognise the person at first. He opened halfway and tucked out his head.
‘Hello’ Henry said with a smile, trying to peep into the house.
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‘Yes, what can I do for you?’ Cole answered. He searched the guy from head to toe with his eyes, then Henry’s face came into his remembrance. He stepped out. Henry scrutinized Cole’s face for a while and remembered him clearly as the driver who drove them to the birthday party. Henry cleared his throat and began.
‘Good morning, I’ve come to see Evelyn’
‘Evelyn?’ Cole pretended as if he didn’t hear properly. He would have loved to say, ‘please come in, she really needs you, that day she felt like dying after you left her.’ But he couldn’t try it, majorly because of the tensed atmosphere that the device he had taken in carelessly just caused and he was also sure that the Boss wouldn’t want to see Henry.
‘Yes, where is Evelyn? The lady I accompanied to that party’
‘What party?’ Cole feigned ignorance.
‘Come on, you drove us in a Range Rover to late Chief Jubril’s party and disappeared when the party ended in a disaster’ Henry defended himself in a strong tone.
‘That was business, she was my client and only hired me for that evening’ Cole answered back.
‘She’s only your client?’ Henry asked. Cole shook his head in affirmation.
‘I need to see her’ Henry added immediately, unshaken.
‘I don’t know where she lives or where she is now. It was her first time of hiring me, so I don’t have much details about her’ Henry paused for a while and stared straight into Cole’s eyes.
‘You’re not saying the truth’ he slammed. ‘Just tell me where she is, I need to see her for something important’ Henry paused as someone opened the door and poked out her head. She looked to Cole and then to Henry’s face and back to Cole, her eyes expression asking for who Henry was. ‘I want to see Evelyn’ Henry quickly said. Aisha feigned ignorance and gave him a strange look. ‘Or you may know her as Tara’ Henry quickly added. There was an expression of shock on both Aisha and Cole’s faces. They mistook the Tara he called to be a short form for Tarasha. But Cole could recognize that Henry’s intonation was different and the way he called it made it sound like a Yoruba name.
‘Tara or Evelyn, she doesn’t know her’ Cole replied, arguing for Aisha. Henry shook his head in disbelief. He had caught the shocked expression on the faces and was more convinced now that they were lying.
‘Why are you guys hiding her? I need to see her for something important’, he repeated.
‘Mister, we don’t know her. I told you already that she only hired me for the party and that’s all’ Cole slammed. Aisha sighed and entered back into the house. Henry shook his head and licked his lips, thinking of what else to say.
‘Okay, I’ve been on the road trying to locate this place for some hours now, can I at least come in to have a drink? Maybe a cup of water’ Henry pleaded.
‘I don’t allow strangers into my house’ Cole replied. Henry gave a smile.
‘I’m not a stranger’ he retorted. ‘You know, I could be your client too and a very regular one at that’
‘Sorry sir, I’ve really got some other things to do’ Cole attempted to turn back.
‘Okay, can I have my property?’ Henry said, perceiving that Cole was going to remain adamant.
‘My phone, the one I forgot in your car’ Henry asserted. Cole kept mute. ‘Don’t try to feign ignorance with that too’ Henry warned. ‘It led me here and I know that it’s in this house’ Cole stared at him awkwardly for a while. He turned back and walked into the house locking the door immediately. Henry quickly took out a bug from his pocket and attached to the top edge of one of the pillars in the balcony. Cole returned a minute later with the phone, not noticing anything, he handed it over to Henry immediately.
‘Thanks’ Henry stared at his phone with a smile. ‘You work with her right?’ He asked another question that kept Cole dumbfounded for some seconds.
‘I think its time to leave sir, you’re taking too much time here’ Cole said with a serious tone.
‘It’s okay, I’ll leave’ Henry said, tossing his phone from one palm to another. ‘Tell her, I only came to pick her up for service today. I’ll be back some other time, we still have loads of stuffs to discuss’ Henry said and turned to take his leave.
‘Don’t return here else I’ll do something terrible to you’ Henry could hear Cole threaten as he approached the old weak gate. He paused and stared at the compound. The place was neat but it looked very old, like a deserted place that was being renovated. There was a blue car in the compound and a mini van. There were also very old building bricks arranged in one corner.
Henry wondered what a modern looking guy like Cole was doing in such an environment. Henry cleared his throat and walked on. He got into his car which was parked by the road beside the house and settled in the driver’s seat, leaving the door opened. He took his tablet device from the back seat and unlocked it. He opened up an application to monitor the bug he just planted. After some loading, the streaming began, he could see Cole just turning back into the house. He dropped the tablet on the right seat and closed the door. He wasn’t sure Evelyn was in the house but he was sure that the driver and his wife or girlfriend knew her. But the bug he just placed there would help him confirm that.
He took in a deep breath and remained in silence for a while. He could hear some singing from around the corner, a church was having the Sunday service. His previous plan was to pick Evelyn and convince her to follow him to his own church’s service but since he didn’t get to see her, he decided to attend a church nearby while he monitored the bug. He closed the door and started the engine.
After waiting for sometime after Henry walked out of the gate, Cole opened the door slowly and entered back into the house. Tarasha was seated on the arm rest of the three seater sofa, her short gun was still in her hands, she stared straight at him. There was an awkward silence of over five minutes. Cole couldn’t move and Tarasha kept an undecided look on him.
‘Why did you take the phone?’ Tarasha finally asked. Cole felt stupid. He knew he shouldn’t have taken the phone at all or he should have told her about it when she didn’t ask. But the reason he was so interested in it was the special technical qualities the phone seemed to have. Little did he know that the owner of the device was also a technical guru who was capable of delivering them to the police by just that simple mistake.
Cole could not answer the question, words refused to come out of his mouth. Tarasha narrowed his gaze at him sternly. But Cole still felt little bit relieved. At least, she wasn’t looking like she was still going to still kill him. Tarasha stared back to the gun in her hand. She felt like punishing Cole for what he had done. A bullet into his right arm wouldn’t have been too cruel for his punishment but she considered the new tasks ahead and the fact that she might still be the one to treat the bullet wound. She offloaded the gun and dropped it on the chair, one of the two bullets rolled to the ground.
‘So it was Henry right?’
‘Yes’ Cole answered. Tarasha let out a breath and her shoulders fell. Henry could interpret the look on her face as a wish that she could see him. He felt the temptation to smile, but rebuked himself and stayed calm.
‘Can you check if he’s still anywhere around?’ She said to Cole as she got up and walked to the front window. Cole opened the door and walked into the compound. He stared around the compound for a little while before proceeding to the gate, he opened the unlockable gate and peeped outside. Except for some building workers walking around, he could only see tyre marks on the sand. He closed the gate and returned into the house.
‘He’s gone’ he said to Tarasha who had already come out to the balcony. She was searching everywhere with her eyes.
‘Where did he stand?’ She asked.
‘Here’ Cole answered, standing on the same spot Henry stood.
‘That guy is a crazy technician and developer, his knowledge of this place could mean danger for us. We need to leave here soon’ Tarasha kept looking around. She saw something at the top edge of the balcony pillar, it was hidden behind the cobwebs. She felt stupid as she stared straight into the bug before discovering what it was. She detached it from the wall and dropped it on the floor, crushing it with her foot.
‘S–t! He has seen my face’ she cursed. ‘Didn’t you see this?’ She barked angrily at Cole. Cole stepped back in fear and gave way for her to walk back inside through the door. He followed after her. ‘We need to leave here immediately’ she said, walking hurriedly. ‘I don’t know how much time we have left’ she picked the gun and the bullet on the sofa.
Cole was standing still, he didn’t understand why they had to leave but he couldn’t summon courage to ask like he would have done normally. As far as he was concerned, Henry was there only for her. They had covered all tracks on their last operation, so there was no way it could be traced to them. Henry had come to discuss his love issue with her and that was all.
‘Why are you standing there?’ Tarasha returned back and stared at him. She had taken off her top and had only her bra and pant on.
‘That guy’ Cole began, moving closer to her slowly, carefully choosing his words in his brain first so as not to infuriate her again. ‘He said he came to pick you for church service’ Tarasha stared at him awkwardly. Her anger was beginning to arise again. ‘He knows your name’ Cole quickly added.
‘What do you mean?’ She narrowed her gaze at him.
‘He called you Tara’
‘What??’ She exclaimed, more like a whisper, looking shocked.
‘Where the hell did he get that from?’ Cole stared at her in surprise, surprised that she was surprised. He thought she was the one who told him the name since he assumed they had begun a love affair. ‘Whatever, we need to leave here now’ Tarasha said and moved closer to the sofa, she picked the bullet on the floor.
‘I think you’re in love with him’ Cole mustered enough courage to say as she turned back. He held his breath anticipating what could befall him.
‘What??’ Tarasha turned back angrily, it was as if Cole just stirred the devil in her. Cole could see her anger in her eyes and he began to tremble immediately. He began to step back slowly as she proceeded towards him. There was no gun in her hands and the door was still opened for Cole to run outside but he knew his attempt would be fruitless. So he knelt down in an attempt to plead. A knock sounded on the door.
‘Evelyn, come on, I know you are in there’ Henry’s voice rang in. …
To be continued